Predicting basal metabolic rates in Malaysian adult elite athletes

Singapore Med J. 2012 Nov;53(11):744-9.


Introduction: This study aimed to measure the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of elite athletes and develop a gender specific predictive equation to estimate their energy requirements.

Methods: 92 men and 33 women (aged 18-31 years) from 15 sports, who had been training six hours daily for at least one year, were included in the study. Body composition was measured using the bioimpedance technique, and BMR by indirect calorimetry. The differences between measured and estimated BMR using various predictive equations were calculated. The novel equation derived from stepwise multiple regression was evaluated using Bland and Altman analysis.

Results: The predictive equations of Cunningham and the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization/United Nations University either over- or underestimated the measured BMR by up to ± 6%, while the equations of Ismail et al, developed from the local non-athletic population, underestimated the measured BMR by 14%. The novel predictive equation for the BMR of athletes was BMR (kcal/day) = 669 + 13 (weight in kg) + 192 (gender: 1 for men and 0 for women) (R2 0.548; standard error of estimates 163 kcal). Predicted BMRs of elite athletes by this equation were within 1.2% ± 9.5% of the measured BMR values.

Conclusion: The novel predictive equation presented in this study can be used to calculate BMR for adult Malaysian elite athletes. Further studies may be required to validate its predictive capabilities for other sports, nationalities and age groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian People
  • Athletes*
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sports
  • Young Adult