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Resting Oxygen Uptake Value of 1 Metabolic Equivalent of Task in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Descriptive Analysis
Sports Medicine  (IF11.136),  Pub Date : 2021-08-21, DOI: 10.1007/s40279-021-01539-1
Leal-Martín, Javier, Muñoz-Muñoz, Miguel, Keadle, Sarah Kozey, Amaro-Gahete, Francisco, Alegre, Luis M., Mañas, Asier, Ara, Ignacio


It is important for sport scientists and health professionals to have estimative methods for energy demand during different physical activities. The metabolic equivalent of task (MET) provides a feasible approach for classifying activity intensity as a multiple of the resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is generally assumed to be 3.5 mL of oxygen per kilogram of body mass per minute (mL O2 kg−1 min−1), a value that has been criticized and considered to be overestimated in the older adult population. However, there has been no comprehensive effort to review available RMR estimations, equivalent to 1 MET, obtained in the older adult population.


The aim of this review was to examine the existing evidence reporting measured RMR values in the older adult population and to provide descriptive estimates of 1 MET.


A systematic review was conducted by searching PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane Library, from database inception to July 2021. To this end, original research studies assessing RMR in adults ≥ 60 years old using indirect calorimetry and reporting results in mL O2 kg−1 min−1 were sought.


Twenty-three eligible studies were identified, including a total of 1091 participants (426 men). All but two studies reported RMR values lower than the conventional 3.5 mL O2 kg−1 min−1. The overall weighted average 1 MET value obtained from all included studies was 2.7 ± 0.6 mL O2 kg−1 min−1; however, when considering best practice studies, this value was 11% lower (2.4 ± 0.3 mL O2 kg−1 min−1).


Based on the results of this systematic review, we would advise against the application of the standard value of 1 MET (3.5 mL O2 kg−1 min−1) in people ≥ 60 years of age and encourage the direct assessment of RMR using indirect calorimetry while adhering to evidence-based best practice recommendations. When this is not possible, assuming an overall value of 2.7 mL O2 kg−1 min−1 might be reasonable. Systematic review registration: International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews on 30 September 2020, with registration number CRD42020206440.