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What Is Metabolic Age?

Height is often part of the formula for calculating metabolic age.
Metabolic age is one of many measurements that can be used to assess health.
Athletes may appear to have a skewed metabolic age but can actually be in excellent health.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2014
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Metabolic age is a reflection of physical health in the form of a calculation based on the base metabolic rate (BMR). If someone's metabolic age is lower than his or her actual age, it suggests that the body is in good health, while one that is higher than the actual age indicates that someone may be experiencing health problems. This measurement is one among many that can be used to assess health, and people should avoid putting too much weight on it; a more complete assessment of physical health can be obtained from a medical professional, who may also have suggestions to improve health.

A number of different calculations can be used to determine metabolic age, but they all rely on some combination of the subject's height, actual age, and weight. Coming up with a number is a bit more complicated than this, however, since it is affected by activity level, genetics, and a wide variety of other factors. Estimates can vary depending on which formula is used, reflecting the fact that it is a bit difficult to pin down a single number.

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As people age, their BMR changes. Older individuals tend to have lower caloric requirements for a variety of reasons, ranging from a reduction in physical activity that reduces the demand on calories for energy to a reduction of muscle, which also reduces the body's need for energy. The BMR plays an important role in metabolic age, making it important to periodically recalculate it to see if circumstances have changed.

Some fitness centers perform this calculation for their clients as a courtesy, and there are also many calculators available on the Internet which allow people to plug in values and obtain their number. People should be aware that health is a complicated issue, and the human body is quite diverse, which means that a calculation may not always be accurate. For example, a young athlete may appear to have a skewed metabolic age and actually be in excellent health. A full physical exam is a much better way to learn about general health.

The BMR can also be used to help people calculate appropriate caloric intake. People who are interested in calorie restriction as a facet of a weight loss program can calculate their metabolic rate and determine how many calories below that number they need to eat to lose weight. Likewise, people who want to bulk up can eat over their BMR. When the desired weight is reached, the subject can return to a maintenance level.

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anon948555
Post 9

I'm 19 and my metabolic age is 13. Is that good?

anon946252
Post 8

I am 48 and was told that my metabolic age is 74. What does this mean? Is this assessment accurate?

EarlyForest
Post 7

@anon292756 -- Hi Alexander. From what I understand there's no one formula, but you can calculate your base metabolic rate and then compare it to the average for different age groups. There are a few different equations for that, some of which are really complicated -- you can google "BMR formula" and see. I'd say your best bet would be to get a doctor or health club to calculate it for you. Hope this helps.

anon292756
Post 6

My name is Alexander and I am interested in calculating my metabolic age, but in the formula for calculating it is incomplete values ​​are only height and age. How can I get the complete formula. Greetings and thanks.

anon252573
Post 5

How can metabolic age calculators that work only on age, weight and height be of any value? Surely you need to measure muscle mass and body fat to have an accurate estimate of metabolic age!

anon244579
Post 4

Metabolic age is still a concept and there seems no perfect measure about it. But this concept stage is misunderstood especially in weight loss programs. Some experts try to match the basal metabolic rate of your current age with your previous age.

Suppose if your BMR at the age of 35 is greater than your BMR at the age of 25, some people are suggesting weight loss from loss of lean mass that results in a decrease in BMR. This lowered BMR, if it matches with our previous age, then they try to conclude that you are younger. This is not true. In fact, through loss of lean mass, we tend to age faster.

Perhaps if the BMR at the age of 35 is lesser than at the age of 25, by exercising with balanced nutrition, if our BMR raises and matches the level it was at the age of 25, we can consider that we are younger now.

EarlyForest
Post 3

Wait, is it metabolic or metabolism age? I've heard it both ways. Is one more correct?

StreamFinder
Post 2

Do the different metabolic types get taken into consideration when determining a metabolic age?

For instance, someone who is naturally thin will probably have a lower metabolic age than someone who is bigger, even though the larger person may actually be healthier.

How does this measurement of metabolism age compensate for that?

FirstViolin
Post 1

I never knew that's what that measurement was called -- when you start using a Wii Fit, they take a measurement like that too, and tell you your "real" age.

I had no idea that there was actually a real metabolic age, with charts and what not.

Very cool article -- thanks wisegeek!

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