Exploring metrics to express energy expenditure of physical activity in youth

McMurray, Robert G., Butte, Nancy F., Crouter, Scott E., Trost, Stewart G., Pfeiffer, Karin. A., Bassett, David R., Puyau, Maurice R., Berrigan, David, Watson, Kathleen B., Fulton, Janet E., & (2015) Exploring metrics to express energy expenditure of physical activity in youth. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0130869.

View at publisher (open access)



Several approaches have been used to express energy expenditure in youth, but no consensus exists as to which best normalizes data for the wide range of ages and body sizes across a range of physical activities. This study examined several common metrics for expressing energy expenditure to determine whether one metric can be used for all healthy children. Such a metric could improve our ability to further advance the Compendium of Physical Activities for Youth.


A secondary analysis of oxygen uptake (VO2) data obtained from five sites was completed, that included 947 children ages 5 to 18 years, who engaged in 14 different activities. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was computed based on Schofield Equations [Hum Nutr Clin Nut. 39(Suppl 1), 1985]. Absolute oxygen uptake (ml.min-1), oxygen uptake per kilogram body mass (VO2 in ml.kg-1.min-1), net oxygen uptake (VO2 – resting metabolic rate), allometric scaled oxygen uptake (VO2 in ml.kg-0.75.min-1) and YOUTH-MET (VO2.[resting VO2] -1) were calculated. These metrics were regressed with age, sex, height, and body mass.


Net and allometric-scaled VO2, and YOUTH-MET were least associated with age, sex and physical characteristics. For moderate-to-vigorous intensity activities, allometric scaling was least related to age and sex. For sedentary and low-intensity activities, YOUTH-MET was least related to age and sex.


No energy expenditure metric completely eliminated the influence of age, physical characteristics, and sex. The Adult MET consistently overestimated EE. YOUTH-MET was better for expressing energy expenditure for sedentary and light activities, whereas allometric scaling was better for moderate and vigorous intensity activities. From a practical perspective, The YOUTH-MET may be the more feasible metric for improving of the Compendium of Physical Activities for Youth.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

16 since deposited on 01 Feb 2016
1 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 92455
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For the CDC/NCI/NCCOR Research Group on Energy Expenditure in Children
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130869
ISSN: 1932-6203
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2016 00:49
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 14:47

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page