Reproducibility of subjective appetite ratings and ad libitum test meal energy intake in overweight and obese males

Katy M. Horner*, Nuala M. Byrne, Neil A. King

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Background: To determine whether changes in appetite and energy intake (EI) can be detected and play a role in the effectiveness of interventions, it is necessary to identify their variability under normal conditions. We assessed the reproducibility of subjective appetite ratings and ad libitum test meal EI after a standardised pre-load in overweight and obese males. Methods: Fifteen overweight and obese males (BMI 30.3 ± 4.9 kg/m2, aged 34.9 ± 10.6 years) completed two identical test days, 7 days apart. Participants were provided with a standardised fixed breakfast (1676kJ) and 5 h later an ad libitum pasta lunch. An electronic appetite rating system was used to assess subjective ratings before and after the fixed breakfast, and periodically during the postprandial period. EI was assessed at the ad libitum lunch meal. Sample size estimates for paired design studies were calculated. Results: Appetite ratings demonstrated a consistent oscillating pattern between test days, and were more reproducible for mean postprandial than fasting ratings. The correlation between ad libitum EI on the two test days was r = 0.78 (P < 0.01). Using a paired design and a power of 0.8, a minimum of 12 participants would be needed to detect a 10 mm change in 5 h postprandial mean ratings and 17 to detect a 500kJ difference in ad libitum EI. Conclusion: Intra-individual variability of appetite and ad libitum test meal EI in overweight and obese males is comparable to previous reports in normal weight adults. Sample size requirements for studies vary depending on the parameter of interest and sensitivity needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


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