Nineteenth-Century U.S. Black and White Working Class Physical Activity and Nutritional Trends During Economic Development

Carson, Scott Alan
September 2014
Journal of Economic Issues (Taylor & Francis Ltd);Sep2014, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p765
Academic Journal
Much has been written about nineteenth-century African-American and white statures and body mass index values. However, less is known about their physical activity and calories required to sustain height and weight. This paper considers two alternative measures for biological conditions that address physical activity and calories per capita: basal metabolic rate (BMR) and estimated calories from calorie equations. African-Americans had greater BMR and required more calories per day than whites. Farmers and unskilled workers were more physically active and required more calories per day than workers in white-collar and skilled occupations. Nineteenth-century BMRs and calories were higher in rural locations, where greater physical activity was required and more calories were available.


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