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J Biosoc Sci. 1992 Jul;24(3):325-33.

The assessment of total energy expenditure of female farmers under field conditions.

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  • Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier, France.


The paper reviews methods, and their difficulties, in the measurement of the daily energy expenditure of rural women under field conditions in developing countries. Since all methods need to be validated against a reference method which is usually based on indirect calorimetry, examples of the use of this technique are given. The energy costs of most agricultural and daily tasks of rural women in developing countries have been measured. Large intra- and inter-individual variations in the cost of a single activity occur, so repeated measurements are needed to obtain a valid mean energy cost for a specific activity for a homogeneous group of individuals. Much work remains to be done on the assessment of the duration and the intensity of the physical activity of the rural adolescent and adult female population. Studies indicate that the workload of most rural women in developing countries is excessive and frequently associated with acute poverty.

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