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Nutrients 2016, 8(7), 438; doi:10.3390/nu8070438

Metabolic Equivalent in Adolescents, Active Adults and Pregnant Women

1
Swiss Federal Institute of Sport, Magglingen 2532, Switzerland
2
Faculty of Biology and Medicine, Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne 1015, Switzerland & Integrative Cardiovascular and Metabolic Physiology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg 1700, Switzerland
3
Institute of Sports Science (ISSUL), Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne 1015, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 29 June 2016 / Accepted: 11 July 2016 / Published: 20 July 2016
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Abstract

“Metabolic Equivalent” (MET) represents a standard amount of oxygen consumed by the body under resting conditions, and is defined as 3.5 mL O2/kg × min or ~1 kcal/kg × h. It is used to express the energy cost of physical activity in multiples of MET. However, universal application of the 1-MET standard was questioned in previous studies, because it does not apply well to all individuals. Height, weight and resting metabolic rate (RMR, measured by indirect calorimetry) were measured in adolescent males (n = 50) and females (n = 50), women during pregnancy (gestation week 35–41, n = 46), women 24–53 weeks postpartum (n = 27), and active men (n = 30), and were compared to values predicted by the 1-MET standard. The RMR of adolescent males (1.28 kcal/kg × h) was significantly higher than that of adolescent females (1.11 kcal/kg × h), with or without the effects of puberty stage and physical activity levels. The RMR of the pregnant and post-pregnant subjects were not significantly different. The RMR of the active normal weight (0.92 kcal/kg × h) and overweight (0.89 kcal/kg × h) adult males were significantly lower than the 1-MET value. It follows that the 1-MET standard is inadequate for use not only in adult men and women, but also in adolescents and physically active men. It is therefore recommended that practitioners estimate RMR with equations taking into account individual characteristics, such as sex, age and Body Mass Index, and not rely on the 1-MET standard. View Full-Text
Keywords: resting metabolic rate; metabolic equivalent; adolescents; pregnant women; physical activity; active men resting metabolic rate; metabolic equivalent; adolescents; pregnant women; physical activity; active men
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Melzer, K.; Heydenreich, J.; Schutz, Y.; Renaud, A.; Kayser, B.; Mäder, U. Metabolic Equivalent in Adolescents, Active Adults and Pregnant Women. Nutrients 2016, 8, 438.

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