Human energy, food and exercise
Practical Activity for 14-16
Considering the energy stored in foodstuffs and the energy demanded by human activity.
Apparatus and Materials
Data in the tables below.
Health & Safety and Technical Notes
Read our standard health & safety guidance
- You should display or provide the data from table A: energy stored in food. Information given on the packet tells you the energy stored in different foods. Students can be asked to compare the energy stored in different foodstuffs.
- Display or provide the data from the next two tables, Table B (human energy demands) and Table C (data for a coal miner). The miner was 32 years old, 1.75 m tall and had a mass of 67 kg.
Table A: Energy stored in food
|Food||Energy value (kcal /100g)||Energy value (kJ /100g)|
|MacDonald's hash browns||257||1,075|
|hamburger (no cheese)||275||1,150|
|cheese pizza 14"||257||1,075|
|hocolate chip cookies, low fat||453||1,895|
|cola carbonated drink||37||154|
|corn flakes, breakfast cereal||360||1,506|
Table B: Human energy demands
|Person||Energy required (kJ/day)|
|Child (either sex)|
|0 to 1 yr||4,185|
|2 to 6 yr||6,278|
|7 to 10 yr||8,370|
|11 to 14 yr||11,500||11,500|
|15 to 19 yr||14,650||10,460|
|Adult (20 yrs and over)|
|lying in bed||7,324||6,278|
|extremely heavy work||20,925|
Table B: Data for a coal miner
|Activity||Energy needed (kJ/minute)|
|resting in bed||3.9|
|washing, shaving, dressing||13.8|
|walking (in coal mine)||28.0|
- From Table A, you might ask students to calculate the energy stored in a recent day's food. They will need to know the approximate mass of a normal serving.
- From Table B you might ask students how much energy they need each 24 hours. The answer depends very much on the sort of person, particularly age and occupation. Table C gives some data for a very physical job.
- The data in these tables could be displayed by a data projector, issued as worksheets, or prepared as wall charts to be left in the classroom or laboratory.
This experiment was safety-tested in January 2006
Download the PDF of the tables.