Basal Metabolism & Metabolic Rate

What Determines Basal Metabolic Rate? (BMR)

BMR is determined by a variety of genetic and environmental factors:


Men have a greater muscle mass and a lower body fat percentage. This means they have a higher basal metabolic rate.


Some people are born with faster metabolisms; some with slower metabolisms. This genetic metabolic fact cannot be changed.


BMR reduces with age. After 20 years, it drops about 2 per cent, per decade.


Physical exercise not only influences body weight by burning calories, it also helps raise your BMR by building extra lean tissue. (Lean tissue is more metabolically demanding than fat tissue.) So you burn more calories even when sleeping.


The heavier your weight, the higher your BMR. Example: the metabolic rate of obese women is 25 percent higher than the metabolic rate of thin women.

Body Surface Area

The greater your Body Surface Area factor, the higher your BMR. Tall, thin people have higher BMRs.

Body Fat Percentage

The lower your body fat percentage, the higher your BMR. The higher body fat percentage in the male body is one reason why men generally have a 10-15% faster BMR than women.


Starvation or serious abrupt calorie-reduction can dramatically reduce BMR by up to 30 percent.Restrictive low-calorie weight loss diets may cause your BMR to drop as much as 20%.

Basal Metabolic Rate and Other Factors

Other factors which affect basal metabolic rate include: body temperature and health, external temperature and glands/ glandular function.

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