Kids are not little adults: what MET threshold captures sedentary behavior in children?

Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Youngwon Kim, Gregory J. Welk, Glenn Gaesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The study compares MET-defined cutpoints used to classify sedentary behaviors in children using a simulated free-living design. Methods: A sample of 102 children (54 boys and 48 girls; 7–13 years) completed a set of 12 activities (randomly selected from a pool of 24 activities) in a random order. Activities were predetermined and ranged from sedentary to vigorous intensities. Participant’s energy expenditure was measured using a portable indirect calorimetry system, Oxycon mobile. Measured minute-by-minute VO2 values (i.e., ml/kg/min) were converted to an adult- or child-MET value using the standard 3.5 ml/kg/min or the estimated child resting metabolic rate, respectively. Classification agreement was examined for both the “standard” (1.5 adult-METs) and an “adjusted” (2.0 adult-METs) MET-derived threshold for classifying sedentary behavior. Alternatively, we also tested the classification accuracy of a 1.5 child-MET threshold. Classification accuracy of sedentary activities was evaluated relative to the predetermined intensity categorization using receiver operator characteristic curves. Results: There were clear improvements in the classification accuracy for sedentary activities when a threshold of 2.0 adult-METs was used instead of 1.5 METs (Se1.5 METs = 4.7 %, Sp1.5 METs = 100.0 %; Se2.0 METs = 36.9 %, Sp2.0 METs = 100.0 %). The use of child-METs while maintaining the 1.5 threshold also resulted in improvements in classification (Se = 45.1 %, Sp = 100.0 %). Conclusion: Adult-MET thresholds are not appropriate for children when classifying sedentary activities. Classification accuracy for identifying sedentary activities was improved when either an adult-MET of 2.0 or a child-MET of 1.5 was used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume116
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Measurement
  • Public health
  • Resting energy expenditure
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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