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Stephen D. Herrmann and Karin A. Pfeiffer

Open access

Kimberly A. Clevenger, Aubrey J. Aubrey, Rebecca W. Moore, Karissa L. Peyer, Darijan Suton, Stewart G. Trost, and Karin A. Pfeiffer


Limited data are available on energy cost of common children’s games using measured oxygen consumption.


Children (10.6 ± 2.9 years; N = 37; 26 male, 9 female) performed a selection of structured (bowling, juggling, obstacle course, relays, active kickball) and unstructured (basketball, catch, tennis, clothespin tag, soccer) activities for 5 to 30 minutes. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was calculated using Schofield’s age- and sex-specific equation. Children wore a portable metabolic unit, which measured expired gases to obtain oxygen consumption (VO2), youth METs (relative VO2/child’s calculated RMR), and activity energy expenditure (kcal/kg/min). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data.


Relative VO2 ranged from 16.8 ± 4.6 ml/kg/min (bowling) to 32.2 ± 6.8 ml/kg/min (obstacle course). Obstacle course, relays, active kickball, soccer, and clothespin tag elicited vigorous intensity (>6 METs), the remainder elicited moderate intensity (3–6 METs).


This article contributes energy expenditure data for the update and expansion of the youth compendium.