School Day Energy Expenditure in Elementary School Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The purpose was to characterize energy expenditure (EE) during academic subjects and activities during an elementary school day.

Methods:

Children in 2nd to 4th grades (N = 33) wore the SenseWear Armband (SWA) for 5 school days to measure EE. Teachers’ logs were compared with SWA data to extract information about EE throughout the day. Energy expenditure was also compared among grades.

Results:

After controlling for body mass, grade level was not a significant predictor of average daily caloric expenditure, F (2, 17.58) = .29, P = .75, ω2 = .05. When comparing activities throughout the day, relative rates of EE differed significantly, Wilks’ F (7, 23) = 52.2, P = .00, ηp 2 = .94, with PE and recess having higher EE. When academic subjects were compared (math, science, language arts), relative rate of EE was also significantly different, Wilks’ F (2, 30) = 4.31, P = .02, ηp 2 = .22. For the full sample, relative rate EE was higher in science than in language arts.

Conclusions:

The school day provides opportunity for EE for children. These data support the potential benefit of active instruction in language arts as a method to increase school day EE.

Huddleston, Barry, and Caputo are with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University.

Huddleston (hrh2r@mtmail.mtsu.edu) is corresponding author.