Comparative Analysis of Metabolic Cost Equations: A Review

Adam W Potter, William R Santee, Cynthia M Clements, Kelly A Brooks, Reed W Hoyt


Military personnel often engage in multi-day missions in harsh environments that require physical strength and endurance.  Predicting the metabolic costs of dismounted military movements is of critical importance for mission planning and ensuring Soldier safety.  The ability to accurately predict individualized thermo-physiological responses specific to variables such as clothing, equipment, weather, terrain, and environment is of significant concern.  While there are multiple equations published that predict metabolic cost, only a few account for all of these variables.  This paper compares several well-recognized equations that address the needs of the military: 1) Givoni & Goldman (1971), 2) Pandolf et al. (1977), 3) American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2000), 4) Minetti et al. (2002), and 5) Santee et al. (2003b). This review shows that existing equations generally lack some of the required elements for estimating military activities and, with the exception of the Pandolf Equation, others do not account for an external load, resting conditions and terrain or surface characteristics.  Furthermore, this review outlines the need for continued refinement of existing equations or development of improved estimation equations.


energy expenditure; exercise; locomotion; prediction; modeling

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