Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.48(2) > 1081384

J Nutr Health. 2015 Apr;48(2):180-191. Korean.
Published online April 30, 2015.
© 2015 The Korean Nutrition Society
Energy expenditure measurement of various physical activity and correlation analysis of body weight and energy expenditure in elementary school children
Jae-Hee Kim,1 Hee-Ryoung Son,1 Jung-Sook Choi,2 and Eun-Kyung Kim1
1Department of Food and Nutrition, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangwon 210-702, Korea.
2National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Jeonbuk 560-500, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-33-640-2336, Email:
Received February 13, 2015; Revised March 18, 2015; Accepted March 27, 2015.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



There is a lack of data on the energy cost of children's everyday activities, adult values are often used as surrogates. In addition, the influence of body weight on the energy cost of activity when expressed as metabolic equivalents (METs) has not been vigorously explored.


In this study 20 elementary school students 9~12 years of age completed 18 various physical activities while energy expenditure was measured continuously using a portable telemetry gas exchange system (K4b2, Cosmed, Rome, Italy).


The average age was 10.4 years and the average height and weight was 145.1 cm and 43.6 kg, respectively. Oxygen consumption (VO2), energy expenditure and METs at the time of resting of the subjects were 5.41 mL/kg/min, 1.44 kcal/kg/h, and 1.5 METs, respectively. METs values by 18 physical activities were as follows: Homework and reading books (1.6 METs), playing game with a mobile phone or video while sitting (1.6 METs), watching TV while sitting on a comfortable chair (1.7 METs), playing video game or mobile phone game while standing (1.9 METs), sweeping a room with a broom (2.7 METs) and playing a board game (2.8 METs) belong to light intensity physical activities. By contrary, speedy walking and running were 6.6 and 6.7 METs, respectively, which belong to high intensity physical activities over 6.0 METs. When the effect of body weight on physical activity energy expenditure was determined, R2 values increased with 0.116 (playing a game at sitting), 0.176 (climbing up and down stairs), 0.246 (slow walking), and 0.455 (running), which showed that higher activity intensity increased explanation power of body weight on METs value.


This study is important for direct evaluation of energy expenditure by physical activities of children, and it could be used directly for revising and complementing the existing activity classification table to fit for children.

Keywords: children; physical activity; energy cost; Metabolic equivalents


Fig. 1
Bland-Altman plot (mean difference and limit of agreement) of measured child METs in this study and compendium adult METs (2011) and child METs (2008). Selected activities with the greatest discrepancies in METs are labeled (A: comparison with compendium adult, B: comparison with compendium child).
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Fig. 2
Scatter plot of the relationship between body weight and the METs value of 18 activities. A simple linear regression was performed to determine the predictive capability (R2) of body weight for the METs value for each activity (A: video game, sitting, B: sweeping, C: stair climbing, D: shoveling, E: slow walking, F: running).
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Table 1
Description of activities performed
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Table 2
Characteristics of the subjects (N = 20)
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Table 3
Mean VO2 (mL/kg/min), energy expenditure (kcal/kg/h) and metabolic equivalents (METs) of 18 activities in elementary school children
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Table 4
Comparison of energy cost values for 18 activities of measured child METs, FAO/WHO/UNU child METs, compendium child METs and compendium adult METs
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Table 5
Comparison with measured child METs in this study and compendium adult METs and child METs
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This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2010-0004472).

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