Validation of Resting Energy Expenditure Equations in Older Adults with Obesity

J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2022 Apr-Jun;41(2):126-139. doi: 10.1080/21551197.2022.2070320. Epub 2022 May 3.


It is unclear which energy expenditure prediction equation should guide weight loss interventions in older adults with obesity. We ascertained the validity of four equations commonly used in practice in a series of weight loss studies of adults aged ≥65 with a body mass index ≥30kg/m2 using indirect calorimetry data. Diagnostic accuracy was defined as <10% discrepancy between predicted and measured resting metabolic rate (RMR). Mean was 73.4 years. RMR using the ReeVue was 1,643 kCal. With 59.0% accuracy, the WHO equation demonstrated the highest accuracy while the Harris-Benedict yielded 53.5% accuracy. The Owens equation demonstrated the least variability (21.5% overprediction, 27.8% underprediction) with 50.7% accuracy. A SECA bioimpedance analyzer noted the second lowest accuracy of 49.6%. Only 43.1% of measurements were within 10% of the gold-standard indirect calorimetry value using the Mifflin equation. All equations demonstrated <60% accuracy suggesting a great need for estimating energy needs.

Keywords: Elderly; equations; obesity; resting energy expenditure; validation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / metabolism
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Weight Loss