The article of Goh et al. was published in Nature in 2016. Goh et al. used the whole-body room calorimeters of Maastricht Instruments for conducting their research.


Overnutrition is a global issue, and Singapore has seen a dramatic rise in the prevalence of overweight and obese people. In 2010, the prevalence of obesity in Singapore, defined as a BMI of 430 kg/m2, was reported to be 10.8%. Obesity prevalence was higher and increased faster in men than in women, rising from 4.1 percent in 1992 to 12.1 percent in 2010. Males under the age of 60 had the fastest growth. Obesity prevalence among Singaporean females, on the other hand, was lower, with 6.1 percent in 1992 and 9.5 percent in 2010. According to an energy balance model, Singaporeans’ higher obesity incidence can be ascribed to their increased caloric intake and/or decreased physical activity levels. Total daily calorie consumption grew by 600 kcal per day in males and 500 kcal per day in females between 1998 and 2010, according to the National Nutrition Survey.

Although higher dietary consumption has been linked to an increase in obesity prevalence, causality is difficult to prove because higher intake could be attributable to increased energy requirements after weight gain. However, the fact that men are less inclined to eat properly than women in Singapore may explain some of the faster growth in obesity prevalence among males in Singapore.

Changes in physical activity patterns, on the other hand, have revealed a more significant trend in recent years. Although not all evidence supports this, evidence suggests that human energy consumption supplied by physical activity has not decreased in recent decades. The epidemiological increase in obesity has been linked to proxy measures of physical inactivity, such as increased second car ownership, increased use of labor-saving gadgets in the home, and increased time spent watching television. However, some believe that this finding could be skewed by methodological flaws, and that some research failed to account for domestic household activities when calculating physical activity. When metabolic equivalents of tasks (METS) were calculated using data from five national databases (the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, and India), it was discovered that METS-hour per week was on the decline. Singapore has likewise seen a decrease in physical activity patterns. The Singapore Health Promotion Board suggested that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week, although the majority of Singaporeans did not follow this advice. The National Sports Participation Survey in 2011 found that 54% of poll respondents had not exercised in the three months prior to the survey, which was 9% higher than the previous survey in 2005. Furthermore, the percentage of Singaporeans who exercise at least once a week has decreased over time. Over half of Singaporean males and females reported a sedentary lifestyle when evaluated by gender (50 and 58 percent, respectively).

Goal of the study

Increased light and moderate intensity physical activities may be an effective technique to assist in body weight regulation in light of decreased sports (typically of vigorous level). Indeed, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) has been postulated as an important component of human daily energy expenditure that aids in body weight regulation, and it refers to the energy expended on a variety of tasks, including domestic housework. Males and females spend different amounts of time on housework around the world. Adult males participated in domestic activities in lower proportions than adult females, and those who did spent less time doing so. Given that most home chores are deemed low-intensity, there should be little difference in intensity across genders. Although Singapore does not have national time usage survey data, data from 26 other nations found that women spent 44 to 205 minutes per day more on domestic home tasks than males. Given that Singaporean men spend less time on household activities and have more serious weight problems, increasing time spent on domestic household chores may be an appropriate compensation method to help with weight control. This theory is backed up by epidemiological data from China, which found an inverse association between Asian adult males’ body weight and their participation in domestic household activities. The energy costs of common home tasks in men must first be evaluated before this notion can be pursued further, which was the major goal of our research.


A screening and three test visits in a Whole-body Chamber (WBC) were part of this trial. Before receiving written agreement, volunteers were evaluated for eligibility during the screening visit. Participants were informed about the WBC study protocol on test days after recruitment, and they were reminded to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and strenuous physical activity on the day before their test visits. Participants came at the research center between 0800 and 0830 hours on test days after a 12-hour overnight fast. Following anthropometric measurements, participants were taken to the WBC, where their resting metabolic rate (RMR) was monitored for 45 minutes as they slept in a supine position. Following RMR, participants were given a typical breakfast of biscuits and orange juice (1113 kJ in total). Participants were advised to begin domestic housekeeping duties one hour after breakfast. The energy expenses of up to three domestic home activities (randomized with were measured during each test visit in a WBC. Participants spent 20 minutes on each domestic home activity, with a 30-minute rest in between. In order to standardize the frequency and intensity of these activities across all participants, instructional videos were provided. The study followed the Declaration of Helsinki’s guidelines, and all procedures involving human subjects were authorized by the National Healthcare Group’s Domain Specific Review Board (permission #2014/00631). was also used to register this study (NCT02594618).


The average energy expenses of household activities ranged from 5.92 to 11.97 kJ/min, with considerable differences between them (repeated measures analysis of variance, Po0.001). All domestic household tasks were categorized as low-intensity physical activities when expressed in metabolic equivalents (METS). Actual METS (METSactual) differed significantly from standard METS of eight activities, which could be explained in part by the universal assumption of 3.5 ml O2/kg/min used in the Asian population for calculating METS. The energy costs of a range of domestic household activities reported in this study may assist in the planning of physical activities among Asians to meet national physical activity guidelines.

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Goh, HJ., Govindharajulu, P., Camps, S. et al. Gross and relative energy cost of domestic household activities in Asian men. Eur J Clin Nutr 70, 1414–1419 (2016).

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