The accurate assessment of energy expenditure (EE) and of the physical activity level (PAL) is important for establishing the energy requirements (ER) of populations. Little is known about these variables in the Brazilian population. The purpose of the present study was to assess EE and PAL in the adult population (> 20 years) of Niterói, RJ. An adapted version of the MOSPA time-budget questionnaire was used to assess the duration of the daily activities of the subjects. The energy cost of the activities was obtained from the table published by FAO in 2004, expressed as multiples of the basal metabolic rate (BMR) measured by indirect calorimetry. Total daily EE (TDEE) was calculated as the sum of EE of all activities of a typical daily routine. TDEE was higher in males than in females (2382.0 + 38.0 and 1987.1 + 22.9 kcal.day-1 respectively) but women showed higher PAL values (1.70 + 0.02 and 1.75 + 0.01 respectively). ER estimated using a PAL of 1.40 was the best predictor of EE of the population in all nutritional status categories, particularly for males. In conclusion, it seems prudent to use lower PAL values when estimating the ER of the adult population of Niterói. It is also evident that more data on the energy cost of activities must be generated for establishing the ER of the Brazilian population.
Energy requirements; Physical activity level; Adult; Epidemiology