To compare intensity misclassification and activity MET values using measured RMR (measMET) compared with 3.5 ml·kg−1·min−1 (standMET) and corrected METs [corrMET = mean standMET × (3.5 ÷ Harris-Benedict RMR)] in subgroups.
RMR was measured for 252 subjects following a 4-hr fast and before completion of 11 activities. VO2 was measured during activity using indirect calorimetry (n = 2555 activities). Subjects were classified by BMI category (normal-weight or overweight/obese), sex, age (decade 20, 30, 40, or 50 y), and fitness quintiles (low to high). Activities were classified into low, moderate, and vigorous intensity categories.
The (mean ± SD) measMET was 6.1 ± 2.64 METs. StandMET [mean (95% CI)] was (0.51(0.42, 0.59) METs) less than measMET. CorrMET was not statistically different from measMET (−0.02 (−0.11, 0.06) METs). 12.2% of the activities were misclassified using standMETs compared with an 8.6% misclassification rate for METs based on predicted RMR (P < .0001). StandMET differences and misclassification rates were highest for low fit, overweight, and older individuals while there were no differences when corrMETs were used.
Using 3.5 ml·kg−1·min−1 to calculate activity METs causes higher misclassification of activities and inaccurate point estimates of METs than a corrected baseline which considers individual height, weight, and age. These errors disproportionally impact subgroups of the population with the lowest activity levels.