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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Dec;72(6):1451-4.

Energy expenditure of nonexercise activity.

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Endocrine Research Unit, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



We found recently that changes in nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) mediate resistance to weight gain with overfeeding in sedentary adults. A potentially important, yet seldom investigated, component of NEAT is the energy expenditure of fidgeting-like activities.


Our goal was to measure changes in energy expenditure with fidgeting-like activities.


Energy expenditure was measured in 24 subjects (17 women and 7 men x+/- SD body weight: 76 +/- 21 kg) while recumbent at rest, sitting motionless, standing motionless, partaking of self-selected fidgeting-like movements while seated and while standing, and walking on a treadmill at 1.6, 3.2, and 4.8 km/h (1, 2, and 3 mph). Measurements were performed by using a high-precision, indirect calorimeter connected to the subject via a transparent, lightweight facemask that enabled almost unrestricted movement.


Compared with metabolic rate in the supine position (5.4 +/- 1.5 kJ/min), energy expenditure increased while sitting motionless by 4 +/- 6%, while fidgeting while seated by 54 +/- 29% (P: < 0.0001), while standing motionless by 13 +/- 8% (P: < 0.0001), while fidgeting while standing by 94 +/- 38% (P: < 0.0001), while walking at 1.6 km/h by 154 +/- 38% (P: < 0.0001), while walking at 3.2 km/h by 202 +/- 45% (P: < 0.0001), and while walking at 4.8 km/h by 292 +/- 81% (P: < 0.0001). There was a significant, positive correlation between changes in energy expenditure and body weight for fidgeting-like activities while standing (r = 0.43, P: = 0.02) but not while seated.


There is marked variance between subjects in the energy expenditure associated with self-selected fidgeting-like activities. The thermogenic potential of fidgeting-like and low-grade activities is sufficiently great to substantively contribute to energy balance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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