The development of connected health devices has allowed for a more accurate assessment of a person’s state under free-living conditions. In this work, we use two mobile sensing devices and investigate the correlation between individual’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exposure levels. A total of 17 healthy, young, and sedentary office workers were recruited, measured for RMR with a mobile indirect calorimetry (IC) device, and compared with their corresponding predicted RMR values from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recommended epidemiological equation, the Mifflin–St Jeor equation (MSJE). Individual differences in the RMR values from the IC device and the epidemiological equation were found, and the subjects’ RMRs were classified as normal, high, or low based on a cut-off of _200 kcal/day difference with respect to the predicted value. To study the cause of the difference, VOCs exposure levels of each participant’s daytime working environment and nighttime resting environment were assessed using a second mobile sensing device for VOCs exposure detection. The results showed that all sedentary office workers had a low VOCs exposure level (<2 ppmC), and there was no obvious correlation between VOCs exposure and the RMR difference. However, an additional participant who was a worker in an auto repair shop, showed high VOCs exposure with respect to the sedentary office worker population and a significant difference between measured and predicted RMR, with a low RMR of 500 kcal/day difference. The mobile sensing devices have been demonstrated to be suitable for the assessment of direct information of human health–environment interactions at free-living conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2670
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 14 2018


  • Environmental exposure
  • Mobile sensors
  • Resting metabolic rate (RMR)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Tracking personal health-environment interaction with novel mobile sensing devices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this