Goh HJ, Govindharajulu P, Camps SG, Tan SY, Henry CJ. Gross and relative energy cost of domestic household activities in Asian men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016;70(12):1414‐1419. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.134
Background/objectives: Obesity is on the rise and participation in exercise has declined. Domestic household activities may help meet the recommended daily physical activity levels. This study aimed to measure the energy costs of household activities among Asian males.
Subjects/methods: This was a randomised cross-over study conducted in a whole-body calorimeter. The energy costs of 14 domestic household activities, divided into two studies, were measured in 10 healthy Asian males. Participants' weight, height, body composition and basal metabolic rate were measured on the first test visit. A standard breakfast was served and participants rested for an hour before the measurement of energy costs of domestic household activities. During the measurements, each activity was performed for 20 min, and participants rested for 30 min between activities.
Results: The mean energy costs of domestic household activities ranged from 5.92 to 11.97 kJ/min, which were significantly different between activities (repeated measures analysis of variance, P<0.001). When expressed as metabolic equivalents (METS), all domestic household activities were classified as low-intensity physical activities. Actual METS (METSactual) were significantly different to standard METS of eight activities, which may be partly explained by the universal assumption of 3.5 ml O2/kg/min made during the calculation of METS in the Asian population.
Conclusions: The energy costs of a range of domestic household activities reported in this study may assist in the planning of physical activities among Asians to meet national physical activity guidelines.