Energy Costs of Household and Eldercare Activities in Young to Middle-Aged Chinese Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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  • 1 School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China
  • | 2 Shanghai Frontiers Science Research Base of Exercise and Metabolic Health, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China
  • | 3 School of Physical Education and Sport Training, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China
  • | 4 University of Kansas Medical College, Kansas City, KS, USA
  • | 5 Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA
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Background: The 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities provides metabolic equivalent (MET) values for household and eldercare activities (physical activities [PAs]). METs are from published studies, estimated if values are not published, or combined with other PAs with different METs in a single entry. Some PAs are missing from the Compendium. This study measures the energy costs for 15 household and eldercare PAs with estimated METs, PAs in combined entries, and new PAs. Methods: Participants were 30 adults (14 males and 16 females), ages 22–58 years (33.7 [11.2] y). PAs were measured in a laboratory for 8 minutes with a 4-minute rest between PAs. A portable indirect calorimeter measured oxygen uptake (in milliliters per kilogram per minute). Standard METs were computed as activity VO2/3.5 mL·kg−1·min−1. Results: Cooking, meal tasks, laundry, light cleaning, and watering plants ranged from 1.8 to 2.3 METs. Sweeping, walking, and carrying groceries and boxes on the ground and stairs ranged from 3.0 to 5.5 METs. Eldercare ranged from 1.8 to 3.0 METs. Measured METs differed from estimated values by ±0.3 to 2.2 METs. Most measured METs were lower than estimated METs. Conclusion: Updating estimated METs with measured values and separating PAs from combined entries increases the accuracy of household and eldercare PAs presented in the Compendium.

Ainsworth (barbara.ainsworth@asu.edu) is corresponding author.

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