Measured versus estimated energy requirement in hospitalized patients

Caroline P. Houmøller, Sebastian H. Hellerup, Niels K. Nøhr, Gustav Winther, Sabina Mikkelsen, Lea Geisler, Mette Holst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

22 Downloads (Pure)


Background & aim: Failure to identify a patient's energy requirement has a variety of consequences both physiological and economical. Previous studies have shown that predictive formulas, including the Harris Benedict equation (HB), both over- and underestimates energy requirement in severely ill patients and healthy younger adults, compared to the golden standard, indirect calorimetry (IC). The comparison between measured and estimated energy requirements in hospitalized patients in regular wards is underreported. The aim of this study was to assess the agreement between measured energy requirements and requirements estimated by HB in the individual hospitalized patients, and to investigate whether those findings were associated with other specific patient characteristics.

Methods: IC (n = 86) was used to measure resting energy expenditure (REE) and bioimpedance analysis (BIA) (n = 67) was used for body composition in patients admitted to Aalborg University Hospital. Furthermore, height, weight, body mass index, calf circumference, while information regarding hospital ward, vital values, dieticians estimated energy requirements and blood samples were collected in the patients' electronic medical records. Bland-Altman plots, multiple linear regression analysis, and Chi2 tests were performed.

Results: On average a difference between IC compared with the HB (6.2%), dietitians' estimation (7.8%) and BIA (4.50%) was observed (p < 0.05). Association between REE and skeletal muscle mass (SMM) (R2 = 0.58, β = 149.0 kJ), body fat mass (BFM) (R2 = 0.51, β = 59.1 kJ), and weight (R2 = 0.62, β = 45.6 kJ) were found (p < 0.05). A positive association between measured REE and HB were found in the following variables (p < 0.05): CRP, age, surgical patients, and respiratory rate.

Conclusion: This study found a general underestimation of estimated energy expenditure compared to measured REE. A positive correlation between measured REE and SMM, BRM and weight was found. Lastly, the study found a greater association between CRP, age, surgical patients, and respiratory rate and a general greater than ±10% difference between measured and estimation of energy requirements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
Pages (from-to)312-319
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • Dietician
  • Harris Benedict equation
  • Hospital
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Malnutrition


Dive into the research topics of 'Measured versus estimated energy requirement in hospitalized patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this