Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Kevin S. Masters (Committee Co-Chair), Julianne Abendroth-Smith (Committee Co-Chair)


Kevin S. Masters


Julianne Abendroth-Smith


Rich Gordin


Lani Van Dusen


Richard D. Gordin


James S. Cangelosi


This study measured total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) in adults at least 50 years of age. The goal was to determine the effect of the estimate of resting metabolic rate (RMR) on the relationship between energy expenditure estimates made using (a) self-reports of physical activity and (b) food intake records. The objectives were to determine if (a) RMR estimates based on body composition, body weight, and the metabolic cart were strongly related to each other, and (b) TDEE estimates based on a 7-day physical activity diary and a 7-day food intake record were more strongly related to each other when an RMR was used that was based on body composition, body weight, or the met cart. This was a three-phase study.

In phases I and II, the Pearson r was computed for all combinations of methods. If r > .80, the most practical method for field use was used in the next phase. Phase I: Estimated body composition using bioimpedance (BIA), skinfold (SKF), and girth. Phase II: Measured RMR using a met cart and three equations. Phase III: Computed TDEE using the self-reports. The Pearson r was computed to determine which methods of estimating RMR resulted in the strongest relationships.

Forty-four older adults participated. Phase I: r = .88 for SKF, girth; r = .64 for SKF, BIA. Phase II: rs ranged from .47 to .59 between the met cart-RMR and all the other methods; rs ranged from .84 to .98 for the remaining methods. Phase III: r = .41 between the two estimates of TDEE that used a body weight –RMR; r = .59 between estimates using a met cart-RMR; and r = .58 between estimates using a body composition-RMR. Even though r = .59 and r = .58 are similar, the average individual difference between the two estimates for each participant was smaller for the metabolic cart- RMR (372 calories/day) than for the body composition-RMR (1,045 calories/day), which suggests that body composition is not as useful as a met cart when estimating TDEE for older adults. When estimating clients' daily calorie needs, health professionals ought to consider using a met cart to estimate RMR and TDEE instead of other methods.