The two most common methods to measure resting metabolic rate using indirect calorimetry are steady state or time interval. Steady state is commonly defined as the first five minutes in which oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production vary by <10%. A time interval measurement generally lasts 20-60 minutes. Using steady state criteria is often harder to achieve, but many suggest it more accurately measures resting metabolic rate. Our objective was to determine if there were differences between steady state and time interval measurements in a healthy adult population.
Seventy seven subjects were measured for 45 minutes. Inclusion criteria included healthy subjects ages 18-65, excluding pregnant and lactating women. Paired t-tests analyzed differences between measures, and Bland-Altman plots evaluated bias, precision, and accuracy.
Of 77 subjects, 84% achieved steady state, and 95% achieved SS by minute 30. Most differences between steady state and time intervals were statistically but not practically significant. Bland-Altman plots showed steady state measurements were generally lower indicating that steady state is more indicative of resting metabolic rate. Minutes 6-25 were most precise, accurate and fairly unbiased compared to steady state.
We recommend measuring a subject for 30 minutes and using steady state criteria of <10% variation of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production for five minutes if a subject is able to achieve it. However, if a subject cannot achieve steady state, we recommend averaging minutes 6-25.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





steady state, indirect calorimetry, resting metabolic rate, time interval, Bland-Altman plots

Included in

Nutrition Commons