Metabolic equivalent: One size does not fit all

School of Human Movement Studies, Queensland Univ. of Technology, Victoria Park Rd., Kelvin Grove, Q4059, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Journal of Applied Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.06). 10/2005; 99(3):1112-9. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00023.2004
Source: PubMed


The metabolic equivalent (MET) is a widely used physiological concept that represents a simple procedure for expressing energy cost of physical activities as multiples of resting metabolic rate (RMR). The value equating 1 MET (3.5 ml O2 x kg(-1) x min(-1) or 1 kcal x kg(-1) x h(-1)) was first derived from the resting O2 consumption (VO2) of one person, a 70-kg, 40-yr-old man. Given the extensive use of MET levels to quantify physical activity level or work output, we investigated the adequacy of this scientific convention. Subjects consisted of 642 women and 127 men, 18-74 yr of age, 35-186 kg in weight, who were weight stable and healthy, albeit obese in some cases. RMR was measured by indirect calorimetry using a ventilated hood system, and the energy cost of walking on a treadmill at 5.6 km/h was measured in a subsample of 49 men and 49 women (26-45 kg/m2; 29-47 yr). Average VO2 and energy cost corresponding with rest (2.6 +/- 0.4 ml O2 x kg(-1) x min(-1) and 0.84 +/- 0.16 kcal x kg(-1) x h(-1), respectively) were significantly lower than the commonly accepted 1-MET values of 3.5 ml O2 x kg(-1) x min(-1) and 1 kcal x kg(-1) x h(-1), respectively. Body composition (fat mass and fat-free mass) accounted for 62% of the variance in resting VO2 compared with age, which accounted for only 14%. For a large heterogeneous sample, the 1-MET value of 3.5 ml O2 x kg(-1) x min(-1) overestimates the actual resting VO2 value on average by 35%, and the 1-MET of 1 kcal/h overestimates resting energy expenditure by 20%. Using measured or predicted RMR (ml O2 x kg(-1) x min(-1) or kcal x kg(-1) x h(-1)) as a correction factor can appropriately adjust for individual differences when estimating the energy cost of moderate intensity walking (5.6 km/h).

35 Reads
  • Source
    • "Recommendations for exercise to provide health benefits are for at least 30 min of moderate intensity exercise five days a week (Garber et al., 2011; Thompson et al., 2003; Haskell et al., 2007). Exercise intensity can be quantified by the metabolic equivalent (MET); MET-values are calculated as multiples of average resting oxygen uptake of 3.5 ml@BULLETmin -1 @BULLETkg -1 (Byrne et al., 2005). In young adults, METs between 4.8 and 7.1 represent exercise of moderate intensity when compared to relative V̇ O2max (Garber et al., 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Regular moderate-intensity exercise provides health benefits. The aim of this study was to examine whether the selected exercise intensity and physiological responses during exergaming in a single and multiplayer mode in the same physical space were game-dependent. Ten males (mean ±SD, age: 23 ±5 years, body mass: 84.2 ±15.6 kg, body height: 180 ±7 cm, body mass index: 26.0 ±4.0 kg·m(-2)) played the games Kinect football, boxing and track & field (3 × ∼10 min, ∼ 2 min rest periods) in similar time sequence in two sessions. Physiological responses were measured with the portable Cosmed K4b(2) pulmonary gas exchange system. Single play demands were used to match with a competitive opponent in a multiplay mode. A within-subjects crossover design was used with one-way ANOVA and a post-hoc t-test for analysis (p<0.05). Minute ventilation, oxygen uptake and the heart rate were at least 18% higher during a multiplayer mode for Kinect football and boxing but not for track & field. Energy expenditure was 21% higher during multiplay football. Single play track & field had higher metabolic equivalent than single play football (5.7 ±1.6, range: 3.2-8.6 vs 4.1 ±1.0, range: 3.0-6.1, p<0.05). Exergaming in a multiplayer mode can provide higher physiological demands but the effects are game-dependent. It seems that exergaming with low intensity in a multiplayer mode may provide a greater physical challenge for participants than in a single play mode but may not consistently provide sufficient intensity to acquire health benefits when played regularly as part of a programme to promote and maintain health in young adults.
    Journal of Human Kinetics 08/2015; 46(1):263-71. DOI:10.1515/hukin-2015-0054 · 1.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Les équivalences en MET sont des approximations, et il est évident que la congruence en (1) n'a pas la prétention de remplacer une mesure du métabolisme de base, ni son estimation à partir d'équations dédiées [24] [25]. En effet, appliquée strictement , elle conduit à une surestimation [26] surtout marquée chez les femmes et les personnes âgées qui présentent en moyenne une masse maigre réduite par rapport aux hommes et aux jeunes adultes. La principale raison est qu'elle ne se réfère qu'à la masse et que les facteurs âge, taille et sexe ne sont pas utilisés pour moduler l'évaluation (sauf dans certaines études où on utilise 0,95 kcal/kg/h chez la femme au lieu de (1)). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For physical activity promotion to be effective from a public health view, adequate communication between the different actors is required. In this perspective, we propose to explicit the bioenergetic notions used to quantify and qualify intensity of physical activities, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and lifestyles. Public health recommendations for physical activity in healthy adults from different authorities vary between 675 and 1350 METs/min per week, which, for example, is the equivalent of the energy spent with the participation 5 times per week in activities leading to a 4.5-times increase of the basal metabolic rate during 30 or 60 minutes for the low and high limit, respectively. For every population category, researchers in different scientific fields and all various responsible actors must work harder or better to reach successful physical activity promotion that would be evidenced by rarefaction of sedentary lifestyles. Very different lifestyles are compatible with energy expenditure large enough at a population scale to contribute to the prevention and control of many non-communicable diseases.
    Nutrition Clinique et Métabolisme 05/2015; 29(2). DOI:10.1016/j.nupar.2015.04.001 · 0.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "To our knowledge, this attempt to identify the relationship between measured MET values and activity counts for a sample of elderly participants had not previously been performed. In agreement with previous research [14, 16], resting metabolic rate in our group of elderly individuals was significantly less than the younger participants. However, the average resting metabolic rate for the older participants was similar to the standard MET value of 3.5 mL·kg−1·min−1 whereas the average resting metabolic rate for the younger adults was significantly higher than the standard MET value of 3.5 mL·kg−1·min−1. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this investigation was to compare accelerometer activity counts and oxygen consumption between young and elderly individuals. Sixteen young (21.3 ± 2.5 yrs) and sixteen elderly (66.6 ± 2.9 yrs) participants completed 30 minutes of resting oxygen consumption to determine resting metabolic rate and four 6 min walking intensities ranging from 27 to 94 m·min(-1). Resting oxygen uptake was significantly lower for the older participants. Exercise oxygen consumption was significantly higher for the elderly group. There were no significant differences in activity counts between groups at each of the exercise intensities. When using measured resting metabolic rate, activity counts of 824 and 2207 counts·min(-1) were associated with moderate (3 METs) physical activity intensity for the older and young participants, respectively. However, using standard resting metabolic rate (3.5 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1)), activity counts of 784 and 2009 counts·min(-1) were associated with moderate physical activity intensity for the elderly and young participants, respectively. These findings indicate that activity counts are similar across age groups even though the oxygen consumption of exercise is greater among elderly individuals.
    Journal of aging research 05/2014; 2014(1):184693. DOI:10.1155/2014/184693
Show more

Similar Publications