Physical activity level

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The physical activity level (PAL) is a way to express a person's daily physical activity as a number, and is used to estimate a person's total energy expenditure.[1] In combination with the basal metabolic rate, it can be used to compute the amount of food energy a person needs to consume in order to maintain a particular lifestyle.


The physical activity level are defined for a non-pregnant, non-lactating adult as that person's total energy expenditure (TEE) in a 24-hour period, divided by his or her basal metabolic rate (BMR):[2]

The physical activity level can also be estimated based on a list of the (physical) activities a person performs from day to day. Each activity is connected to a number, the physical activity ratio. The physical activity level is then the time-weighted average of the physical activity ratios.


The following table shows indicative numbers for the Physical activity level for several lifestyles:<ref>{{cite web |title=Human energy requirements: Energy Requirement of Adults |url= |work=Report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation |publisher=Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations |year=2004

Lifestyle Example PAL
Extremely inactive Cerebral Palsy patient <1.40
Sedentary Office worker getting little or no exercise 1.40-1.69
Moderately active Construction worker or person running one hour daily 1.70-1.99
Vigorously active Agricultural worker (non mechanized) or person swimming two hours daily 2.00-2.40
Extremely active Competitive cyclist >2.40


  1. ^ "Total energy expenditure (TEE) and physical activity levels (PAL) in adults: doubly-labelled water data". Energy and Protein requirements, Proceedings of an IDECG workshop. United Nations University. 1994-11-04. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  2. ^ "Human energy requirements: Principles and Definitions". Report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2004. Retrieved 2009-10-15.

External links

  • PAL Calculator computes the physical activity level based on a list of daily activities.
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