Whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) has recently emerged as an important imaging tool for cancer detection and staging. Initial applications of the technique have been primarily qualitative. One of the major reasons is the limits imposed by kinetically undersampled data over the whole body, as opposed to the standard method of continuous dynamic sampling in one body location. In this paper, a new estimation method using weighted nonlinear least squares (WNLS) for the first bed position and Bayesian regression (BR) for subsequent positions is proposed. A general criterion for designing optimal sampling schedules which maximizes the measurement information with multiple bed positions is developed. The overall approach is illustrated with the problem of estimating the metabolic rate of glucose (MRGlu) in tumors at different axial positions (image bed positions) in the body by using computer simulations and patient data. The results show that estimates of MRGlu using sparse data and the optimized Bayesian approach are comparable with those obtained by standard methods and fully sampled data. This study demonstrates the potential of the technique described for quantification where several bed positions have to be used to image all the regions of interest (ROI).