Compendium of Physical Activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities

The Compendium of Physical Activities was developed to facilitate the coding of physical activities
(PAs) obtained from PA records, logs, and surveys
and to promote comparison of coded physical activity intensity levels across observational studies (1). The Compendium provides a coding scheme that links a five-digit code,
representing the specific activities performed in various
settings, with their respective metabolic equivalent (MET)
intensity levels. Using the definition for a MET as the ratio
of work metabolic rate to a standard resting metabolic rate
of 1.0 (4.184 kJ)zkg21
, 1 MET is considered a resting
metabolic rate obtained during quiet sitting. Activities are
listed in the Compendium as multiples of the resting MET
level and range from 0.9 (sleeping) to 18 METs (running at
10.9 mph).
We provide an update of the initial Compendium of
Physical Activities, developed in 1989 and published in
1993. The updated Compendium reflects additional activities identified by researchers in the past 10 years and presents measured MET intensities for some activities in which
METs were estimated from similar activities. The updated
Compendium also reflects public health interests in evaluating the contributions of various types of physical activity
to daily energy expenditure by providing additional categories for activities done during the day.
The initial Compendium has received widespread acceptance among PA specialists in the exercise science and
public health fields. For example, in the United States, the
coding scheme has been used to identify MET intensities for
PAs in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey (6), the 1991 National Health Interview Survey (11),
the Paffenbarger College Alumni Study (15), and to evaluate the accuracy of the Minnesota Leisure Time Physical
Activity Questionnaire (MN-LTPA) (26). Internationally,
the Compendium has been used to identify MET intensities
for activities listed in the MONICA Optional Survey of
Physical Activity (MOSPA) (12). The coding scheme and
MET intensities for activities listed in the Compendium of
Physical Activities also have been published as an appendix
or abstracted as a chart in several books (18–20,34).
In their landmark 1995 paper that presents the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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