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Scripts for Educators: Free Perl/CGI programs since 1996


Perl/CGI Metabolism calculator


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[Demo] [Who's using?] [System Requirements] [Download!] [Bug Fix Announcements] [Changelog] [License]

Program Summary

[Version 1.0 Released 1/11/2005]

MetaboCalc uses the Harris-Benedict equation to give you an approximation of how many calories you burn per day and at rest. It shows the base number, and also plus and minus 5% and 20% due to errors inherent in that equation. Basically, this calculator is intended to show your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) or BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Actually, BMR and RMR are slightly different, but they're often referred to as the same thing, so we're not going to worry too much about that.

It will also show your BMI (Body Mass Index) which is sometimes an indication of whether you are underweight, overweight, or just right for your height and weight.

In general, if you consume the number of calories at the lower end of the scale, you should lose weight, but this is not always the case. MetaboCalc should be used as an approximation only. See your doctor before attempting any weight loss plan, as some of the lower ranges may lead to starvation! Every body is different, and there's no easy way to determine a person's metabolism just from an equation.

An interesting study for nutrition students would be to take a metabolism breath test (such as the BodyGem tests) and compare the results to the MetaboCalc results. For me, the very lower end of the scale (-20%) was more accurate, whereas for a friend, the higher end of the scale was!

When setting up the calculator, you can choose how to configure the user's height (in centimeters or inches) and their weight (in kilograms or pounds), You can also configure it so that either Pounds/Inches or Kilograms/Centimeters is the default, and even change the spelling of Centimeters if you like. You may also change the text of the messages in the little popup "help" windows so that you can explain this to your users in an appropriate manner.

I think it's interesting to put many different values in there to see what differences in weight or age correspond to differences in the metabolism calculated. With the health problems I've experienced over the last few years, I've become very interested in nutrition, diet, and fitness (although not so much in weight loss, since my illness takes care of that for me! hehe!). The Harris Benedict equation is just one of the tools that I've used to get information on my own health status as concerns my weight. I've also had some requests for more calculators like this from various nutrition students, so this is the second one.

Since this calculator also shows BMI, it should be noted that BMI isn't completely accurate in predicting health risks: highly muscular people may show up as "overweight" or even "obese," whereas people with a lower weight but a high body fat percentage may show up as "normal," and yet be unhealthily "overfat." For a good number of people, though, it can at least give an indicator.



Working Demo

You can try out a working version of MetaboCalc here.


Who's Using MetaboCalc?

 If you've gotten MetaboCalc to work, send me the address of your website and I'll post a link to it.

Well, it's a brand new script, so no one but me is using it as far as I know! If you have it running on your site, drop me an email and I might link to you here!


System Requirements

The web server where this script will be installed must have Perl 5.000 or higher. Scripts that send email require that "Sendmail" or "qmail-inject" be available on Unix/Linux-type systems. Scripts that send email under Windows-based systems require use of the Socket Perl module (Socket.pm). All scripts may require the Perl CGI module, CGI.pm .

This script is NOT supported on the following web hosting providers:




Also, sorry, but the scripts are not supported under mod_perl, PerlEx, or speedy_cgi as I don't have any way to test them in that environment. :-(

You must be able to execute cgi programs on your web server. If you're not sure whether you have permission to do this, or are not sure how to configure the files, please ask your system administrator, or check the web pages of your web hosting provider for Help or Support information. For a free web hosting provider who supports CGI scripts, or low-cost web hosting providers, you can try looking at the "Some Places to Host your Website" page I've put together.

The web server must support both the GET and POST request methods. (Ask your hosting provider about this if you're not sure.)

Please remember: you get what you pay for, and free web hosting services are often worth what you pay for them.



But first, the obligatory plea for funding. :-)
(Scroll down if you don't want to read this part. You do NOT have to give money to download these scripts!)

Like the scripts? Give me a dollar, or say thanks! 

If you like the scripts, you can send me cash through PayPal, Amazon, or through snail mail or you can show your support in other ways. Remember: only about one out of 100 people who download the scripts even says "Thanks." :-)

All the files you need are contained in these packages. Download it in the format you wish.

Gzipped Tar format: metabocalc.tar.gz
Zip format: metabocalc.zip

On a Unix-type system, if you have console or command prompt access, you may unzip the tar.gz file by typing 'gunzip < metabocalc.tar.gz | tar -xvf -'. If you're not very familiar with Unix, you may want to ask someone who is to help you. The latest version of Stuffit for the Mac will also handle tar.gz files.

If you have MS Windows, there is a program called WinZip (available at TuCows) which will uncompress and de-archive tar/gz files as well as Zip files.

The package contains the following files:

the actual program.
The README file (README.metabocalc)
contains information on how to get started using the program. READ THIS before you get started!


Bug Fix Announcements

I strongly recommend that you sign up here for update and bug fix announcements about this script. I will not spam you with advertising: I just want to make sure you have the latest fixes. :-)

The program will send a confirmation message to your email address when you sign up. In order to get on the announcement list, you MUST click on the confirmation link contained in that email message. This is to protect you from someone signing you up as a joke, and to protect me from being accused of spamming. Since update announcements are sometimes few and far between, sometimes people forget that they've subscribed and report me for sending junk mail. Luckily, the system logs the address, time, and date of everyone who signs up so that I can prove I'm only sending to people who asked for it. :-)

After a major release, you may get one or two messages a week. Mostly, though, I'm afraid it's less than once a month. 

You may also sign up for announcements about other scripts on the main Scripts for Educators Mailing List page. 

This list is ONLY for announcements specifically about MetaboCalc: