Physical activity levels in children and adolescents

M.B. Hoos*, W.J.M. Gerver, A.D.M. Kester, K.R. Westerterp

*Corresponding author for this work

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Physical activity levels in children and adolescents.

Hoos MB, Gerver WJ, Kester AD, Westerterp KR.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands. [email protected]

BACKGROUND: Reference data for physical activity level (PAL) and activity-related energy expenditure (AEE) are needed for a better understanding of the effect of activity on childhood health, growth and development OBJECTIVE: Data from 17 studies measuring TDEE (TDEE) with doubly labelled water DLW were combined to construct a reference line for PAL and AEE as a function of age. DESIGN: A total of 17 studies from the literature were analyzed; 17 on girls and 16 on boys. Children were aged 3-16 y and of Caucasian origin. Weighted least-squares regression was used to obtain reference lines for PAL and AEE as a function of age and gender. The relative numbers of children per study were used as a weighting factor. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) or nonfasted (NF) resting metabolic rate and sex were included in the analysis. RESULTS: Although there was no difference in PAL between boys and girls, a significant difference in AEE was found between the two sexes. PAL: 0.025 x age+1.40. AEE (MJ/day): boys 0.30 x age+0.025; girls 0.21 x age+0.33. If BMR is measured under NF conditions, the obtained value has to be reduced by 0.21 for PAL and 0.75 MJ/day for AEE. No relation was found between AEE/kg and age. CONCLUSIONS: PAL and AEE were found to increase with age, showing the importance of age-dependent recommendations. Recommendations for AEE need to be differentiated for sex. To compare PAL and AEE between studies, the measurement conditions of BMR have to be taken into account. The increase in PAL and AEE values can be attributed to an increase in weight, because there was no relation between AEE/kg and age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-609
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


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