Minimum Calorie‐Expenditure Requirements for Individuals

Peter Svedberg

in Poverty and Undernutrition

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780198292685
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596957 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 Minimum Calorie‐Expenditure Requirements for Individuals

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The calorie norm set up by the FAO to delineate the undernourished in a population has, as its foundation, estimates of the minimum calorie‐expenditure requirements of individuals of different ages and sexes, which are subsequently aggregated to the household level (see Ch. 9). The individuals’ minimum calorie requirements are those needed to maintain the lowest body weight that medical studies have found to be consistent with unimpaired health and also to pursue some relatively light physical (work) activity. In this chapter, the many difficulties encountered in the estimations of these minimum requirements are analysed. It is further revealed that the FAO has based its requirements for adults on obsolete data on the basal metabolic rate (BMR), taken from sample populations that are not representative for people living in a tropical climate. The FAO has hence overestimated the calorie requirement in its norm by some 10%.

Keywords: basal metabolic rate; body weight; calorie requirements; FAO; health; physical activity; tropical climate

Chapter.  5871 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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