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Maurice R. Puyau, Anne L. Adolph, Yan Liu, Theresa A. Wilson, Issa F. Zakeri and Nancy F. Butte

Background:

The absolute energy cost of activities in children increases with age due to greater muscle mass and physical capability associated with growth and developmental maturation; however, there is a paucity of data in preschool-aged children. Study aims were 1) to describe absolute and relative energy cost of common activities of preschool-aged children in terms of VO2, energy expenditure (kilocalories per minute) and child-specific metabolic equivalents (METs) measured by room calorimetry for use in the Youth Compendium of Physical Activity, and 2) to predict METs from age, sex and heart rate (HR).

Methods:

Energy expenditure (EE), oxygen consumption (VO2), HR, and child-METs of 13 structured activities were measured by room respiration calorimetry in 119 healthy children, ages 3 to 5 years.

Results:

EE, VO2, HR, and child-METs are presented for 13 structured activities ranging from sleeping, sedentary, low-, moderate- to high-active. A significant curvilinear relationship was observed between child-METs and HR (r 2 = .85; P = .001).

Conclusion:

Age-specific child METs for 13 structured activities in preschool-aged children will be useful to extend the Youth Compendium of Physical Activity for research purposes and practical applications. HR may serve as an objective measure of MET intensity in preschool-aged children.

Open access

Kate Ridley and Timothy Olds

Background:

To improve the scope of the Youth Compendium of Energy Expenditures, a range of everyday activities of varying intensity should be measured. This study measures the energy cost of children undertaking common household chores, rollerblading and riding a foot-propelled scooter.

Methods:

Participants were 9- to 14-year-old children. A metabolic cart was used to measure oxygen cost (VO2) of a variety of household chores. A Cosmed K4b2 portable oxygen analyzer was used to measure VO2 during rollerblading and riding a scooter at self-selected speeds. Energy costs for each participant were calculated as child METs.

Results:

Mean child MET costs for the household chores ranged from 1.3 to 3.6 METs. Rollerblading and riding a scooter yielded mean child MET costs of 6.5 and 6.3 METs respectively.

Conclusions:

Household chores were found to be of light to moderate intensity, while rollerblading and riding a scooter were vigorous activities.

Restricted access

Kylie Hesketh, Melissa Graham and Elizabeth Waters

This study investigated children’s after-school activity and associations with body mass index (BMI) and family circumstance. One thousand two hundred thirty-four parents and 854 children (age 8–13 years) completed activity diaries for the 2 hours after school. Parents reported children as more active than children reported themselves. Boys were reported to be more active than girls. Activity levels were generally not associated with BMI or family circumstance with the exception of cultural background. Parent-reported mean child METs were higher for mothers born in Australia (3.3 vs. 3.0; p = .02). Child-reported mean METs were higher for fathers born in Australia (2.9 vs. 2.6; p = .04) and where English was their main language (2.9 vs. 2.3, p = .003).