Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

A compilation of energy costs of physical activities

Mario Vaza1 c1, Nadine Karaolisa2, Alizon Drapera2 and Prakash Shettya2

a1 Division of Nutrition, Department of Physiology, St. John's Medical College, Bangalore 560034, India

a2 Public Health Nutrition Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 49/51 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP, UK


Objectives There were two objectives: first, to review the existing data on energy costs of specified activities in the light of the recommendations made by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization/United Nations University (FAO/WHO/UNU) Expert Consultation of 1985. Second, to compile existing data on the energy costs of physical activities for an updated annexure of the current Expert Consultation on Energy and Protein Requirements.

Design Electronic and manual search of the literature (predominantly English) to obtain published data on the energy costs of physical activities. The majority of the data prior to 1955 were obtained using an earlier compilation of Passmore and Durnin. Energy costs were expressed as physical activity ratio (PAR); the energy cost of the activity divided by either the measured or predicted basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Results The compilation provides PARs for an expanded range of activities that include general personal activities, transport, domestic chores, occupational activities, sports and other recreational activities for men and women, separately, where available. The present compilation is largely in agreement with the 1985 compilation, for activities that are common to both compilations.

Conclusions The present compilation has been based on the need to provide data on adults for a wide spectrum of human activity. There are, however, lacunae in the available data for many activities, between genders, across age groups and in various physiological states.


c1 *Corresponding author: Email