Are basal metabolic rate prediction equations appropriate for female children and adolescents?

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Dec;81(6):2407-14. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1996.81.6.2407.


The basal metabolic rate (BMR), which accounts for 50-70% of total energy expenditure, is essential for estimation of patient and population energy needs. Numerous equations have been formulated for prediction of human BMR. Most equations in current use are based on measurements of Caucasians performed more than four decades ago. We evaluated 10 prediction equations commonly used for estimation of BMR in 76 Caucasian and 42 African-American girls between 8 and 17 yr of age against BMR measured by whole-body calorimetry. The majority of the prediction equations (9 of 10) overestimated BMR by 60 +/- 46 kcal/day (range, 15-176 kcal/day). This overestimation was found to be significantly greater (P < 0.05) for African-American (77 +/- 17 kcal/day) than for Caucasians (25 +/- 17 kcal/day) in six equations, controlling for age, weight, and sexual maturity. We conclude that ethnicity is an important factor in estimation of the BMR and that the current prediction equations are not appropriate for accurate estimation of the BMR of individual female children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology*
  • Black People
  • Black or African American
  • Child
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • White People