Developmental Trends in the Energy Cost of Physical Activities Performed by Youth

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health


Published energy cost data for children and adolescents are lacking. The purpose of this study was to measure and describe developmental trends in the energy cost of 12 physical activities commonly performed by youth.


A mixed age cohort of 209 participants completed 12 standardized activity trials on 4 occasions over a 3-year period (baseline, 12-months, 24-months, and 36-months) while wearing a portable indirect calorimeter. Bayesian hierarchical regression was used to link growth curves from each age cohort into a single curve describing developmental trends in energy cost from age 6 to 18 years.


For sedentary and light-intensity household chores, YOUTH METs (METy) remained stable or declined with age. In contrast, METy values associated with brisk walking, running, basketball, and dance increased with age.


The reported energy costs for specific activities will contribute to efforts to update and expand the youth compendium.

Trost ( is with the School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QLD Centre for Children’s Health Research; Drovandi is with the Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Mathematical and Statistical Science; Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Pfeiffer is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Michigan State University.

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