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J Pediatr Orthop. 1991 Sep-Oct;11(5):571-8.

The energy expenditure index: a method to quantitate and compare walking energy expenditure for children and adolescents.

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  • 1Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, California.


We used heart rate and walking speed to calculate an energy expenditure index (EEI), the ratio of heart rate per meter walked, for 102 normal subjects, age 6-18 years. Heart rate was measured at self-selected slow, comfortable, and fast walking speeds on the floor and on a motor-driven treadmill. At slow walking speeds (37 +/- 10 m/min) the EEI was elevated (0.71 +/- 0.32 beats/m), indicating poor economy. At comfortable speeds (70 +/- 11 m/min) the EEI values decreased to the maximum economy (0.47 +/- 0.13 beats/m). At fast speeds (101 +/- 13 m/min), the EEI increased (0.61 +/- 0.17 beats/m), indicating poor economy relative to comfortable speeds. A graph of the EEI versus walking speed provides a way to evaluate and compare energy expenditure in a clinical setting.

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