Comparison of predictive equations for resting metabolic rate in Portuguese women

  • José Maria Tallon University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Janine Narciso University of Beira Interior
  • Raquel Saavedra University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • António José Silva University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Ana Barros University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Aldo Matos da Costa University of Beira Interior


Obesity represents a public health challenge and dietary interventions to prevent or treat obesity rely on the ability to accurately determine daily energy requirements - which are based on measures of total energy expenditure. Several prediction equations to estimate resting metabolic rate (RMR) have been developed, however the validity of these equations is uncertain. The present study aims to determine the accuracy of four commonly used RMR prediction equations in normal weight, overweight and obese Portuguese women aged 18 to 64 years. RMR was measured in 156 women (age: 40.3 ± 10.2 years; Body Mass Index (BMI): 20.6 ± 6.8 kg/m2) using indirect calorimetry. The resulting values were compared with the predictive values from the Harris-Benedict, FAO/WHO/UNU, Schofield and Mifflin-St. Jeor equations across BMI categories. At an individual level, the equations with the highest percentage of accurate predictions were the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation in normal weight women (41.9%) and the Harris-Benedict equation in overweight (55.4%) and obese (50.9%) women. The accuracy of the RMR prediction equations studied varied by weight status and due to the low levels of accuracy reported, the present equations might have limited applicability for Portuguese women at an individual level.

Original Article