Archive for August, 2011

A post from Julie St. John:

NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is defined as the calorie expenditure of any activity other than sport-like exercises and has been shown to reduce weight gain.    An example of a NEAT program is a dynamic sit-stand work-station that allows students/adults to stand during classroom instruction or work.  A pilot study using dynamic sit-stand work-stations in elementary schools showed that 70% of students were SOLELY standing at the 12th week of intervention, and overweight and obese students burned an average of 23% more calories in the time spent standing in the classroom compared to their seated peers.  The desk/stool units cost less than $200 per unit (retail value) and have a lifespan of 20 year.  For around $10 per student, this simple environmental modification can be used to prevent and reduce adolescent obesity.  An additional benefit is that the sit-stand work station design promotes better posture, which could also reduce chronic back pain in the target population.

            Children and teenagers’ lives can be divided into three categories: sleep, time in school, and time not in school.   Regulating what happens when students are not in school can be extremely difficult and sleep time has few possibilities for obesity interventions.  This leaves time in school as a period to positively affect lifestyle changes in youth.  As discussed previously, several school policies and programs are addressing obesity from the nutrition/caloric intake and/or physical activity.  However, despite research showing positive signs for these types of interventions, the obesity in youth continues to rapidly increase—suggesting an additional component is needed.  NEAT strategies address environmental changes in the classroom that foster more physical activity, without reducing instructional time. 

Please click on the image to view in full size

            Benden M, Blake J, Wendel M, Huber J.  The Impact of Stand-Biased Desks in Classrooms on Calorie Expenditure in Children. Am J Public Health. 2011 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print]

            Benden, M.  (2007).  Could You Stand to Lose? Weight Loss Secrets for Office Workers.  Dallas, TX:  Trinity River Publishing. ISBN 978-60402-234-6.

            Lanningham-Foster, L., Foster, R.C., McCrady, S.K., Manohar, C.U., Jensen, T.B., Mitre, N.G., Hill, J.O. & Levine, J.A.  (2008).  Changing the school environment to increase physical activity in children.  Obesity, 16(8):  1849-1853.

            Levine, J. A. (2007). Nonexercise activity thermogenesis–liberating the life-force. J Intern Med, 262(3), 273-287.

            Levine, J. A., Eberhardt, N. L., & Jensen, M. D. (1999). Role of nonexercise activity thermogenesis in resistance to fat gain in humans. Science, 283(5399), 212-214.

            Levine, J. A., Schleusner, S. J., & Jensen, M. D. (2000). Energy expenditure of nonexercise activity. Am J Clin Nutr, 72(6), 1451-1454.


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