This study reports energy expenditure (EE) data for lifestyle and ambulatory activities in young children.


Eleven children aged 3 to 6 years (mean age = 4.8 ± 0.9; 55% boys) completed 12 semistructured activities including sedentary behaviors (SB), light (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activities (MVPA) over 2 laboratory visits while wearing a portable metabolic system to measure EE.


Mean EE values for SB (TV, reading, tablet and toy play) were between 0.9 to 1.1 kcal/min. Standing art had an energy cost that was 1.5 times that of SB (mean = 1.4 kcal/min), whereas bike riding (mean = 2.5 kcal/min) was similar to LPA (cleaning-up, treasure hunt and walking) (mean = 2.3 to 2.5 kcal/min), which had EE that were 2.5 times SB. EE for MVPA (running, active games and obstacle course) was 4.2 times SB (mean = 3.8 to 3.9 kcal/min).


EE values reported in this study can contribute to the limited available data on the energy cost of lifestyle and ambulatory activities in young children.

Groβek is with the Institute of Cardiovascular Research and Sports Medicine, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany. Groβek, van Loo, Jones, and Cliff ( are with the Early Start Research Institute, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences; Peoples is with the Graduate School of Medicine, Faculty of Science Medicine and Health; Hagenbuchner is with the School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences; University of Wollongong, Australia.