Impact of imposed exercise on energy intake in children at risk for overweight

S. Nicole Fearnbach, Travis D. Masterson, Haley A. Schlechter, Amanda J. Ross, Michael J. Rykaczewski, Eric Loken, Danielle S. Downs, David Thivel, Kathleen L. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Exercise not only has a direct effect on energy balance through energy expenditure (EE), but also has an indirect effect through its impact on energy intake (EI). This study examined the effects of acute exercise on daily ad libitum EI in children at risk for becoming overweight due to family history. Methods: Twenty healthy-weight children (ages 9-12 years, 12 male/8 female) with at least one overweight biological parent (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2) participated. Children reported to the laboratory for one baseline and two experimental visits (EX = exercise, SED = sedentary) each separated by 1 week in a randomized crossover design. Two hours into the EX day session, children exercised at 70 % estimated VO2max for 30 min on a cycle ergometer. Objective EI (kcal) was measured at a standard breakfast (~285 kcal) and ad libitum lunch, snack and dinner. Meals were identical on the EX and SED days. Activity-related EE (kcal) was estimated with accelerometers worn on the non-dominant wrist and ankle. Relative EI (kcal) was computed as the difference between Total EI and Activity-related EE for each testing day. Paired t-tests were performed to test differences in Total EI, Activity-related EE and Relative EI between the EX and SED days. Results: Across all meals, Total EI was not statistically different between the EX and SED days (t = 1.8, p = 0.09). Activity-related EE was greater on the EX day compared to the SED day (t = 10.1, p < 0.001). By design, this difference was predominantly driven by activity during the morning (t = 20.4, p < 0.001). Because children consumed a similar number of kcal on each day, but had greater Activity-related EE on the EX day, Relative EI was lower (t = -5.15, p < 0.001) for the EX day (1636 ± 456 kcal) relative to the SED day (1862 ± 426 kcal). Conclusions: Imposed exercise was effective in reducing Relative EI compared to being sedentary. Morning exercise may help children at risk for becoming overweight to better regulate their energy balance within the course of a day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number92
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 21 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of imposed exercise on energy intake in children at risk for overweight'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this