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Melissa Lau, Li Wang, Sari Acra, and Maciej S. Buchowski

Background:

Standardized measures of energy expenditure (EE) for sedentary activities in youth are needed. The goal was to determine EE of common contemporary and computer-related sedentary activities in youth.

Methods:

We measured EE for sedentary tasks in 10- to 17-year-old youths (n = 24) during ~24 hours in a whole-room indirect calorimeter. Directly monitored tasks were performed for ~10-min. EE was calculated from oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced, converted to metabolic equivalents (MET) by normalization to an individual’s measured resting EE, and compared with the Compendium of Energy Expenditures for Youth.

Results:

Compared with the youth compendium, measured METs were lower for internet surfing (1.3), computer keyboard typing (1.3), and sorting beads/crafts (1.5) (all P < .002), and similar for handwriting (1.4), playing cards (1.6), video-gaming (1.6), and telephoning (1.5).

Conclusions:

Current youth compendium MET estimates should be used with caution when predicting EE of common contemporary and computer-related sedentary activities in youth.

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Maciej S. Buchowski, Leena Choi, Karen M. Majchrzak, Sari Acra, Charles E. Matthews, and Kong Y. Chen

Background:

Environmental factors including seasonal changes are important to guide physical activity (PA) programs to achieve or sustain weight loss. The goal was to determine seasonal variability in the amount and patterns of free-living PA in women.

Methods:

PA was measured in 57 healthy women from metropolitan Nashville, TN, and surrounding counties (age: 20 to 54 years, body mass index: 17 to 48 kg/m2) using an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days during 3 seasons within 1 year. PA counts and energy expenditure (EE) were measured in a whole-room indirect calorimeter and used to model accelerometer output and to calculate daily EE and intensity of PA expressed as metabolic equivalents (METs).

Results:

PA was lower in winter than in summer (131 ± 45 vs. 144 ± 54 × 103 counts/d; P = .025) and in spring/fall (143 ± 48 × 103 counts/d; P = .027). On weekends, PA was lower in winter than in summer by 22,652 counts/d (P = .008). In winter, women spent more time in sedentary activities than in summer (difference 35 min/d; P = .007) and less time in light activities (difference −29 min/d, P = .018) and moderate or vigorous activities (difference −6 min/d, P = .051).

Conclusions:

Women living in the southeastern United States had lower PA levels in winter compared with summer and spring/fall, and the magnitude of this effect was greater on weekends than weekdays.