Acute Compensatory Responses to Interrupting Prolonged Sitting With Intermittent Activity in Preadolescent Children

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2018 May 1;30(2):259-265. doi: 10.1123/pes.2017-0078. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of intermittent activity performed at varying intensities and of prolonged sitting on physical activity compensation.

Methods: A total of 33 children (14 boys and 19 girls; age 7-11 y; 24% overweight/obese; 61% nonwhite) completed 4 experimental conditions in random order: 8 hours of sitting interrupted with 20 two-minute low-, moderate-, or high-intensity activity breaks or 20 two-minute sedentary computer game breaks. Physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) was assessed via accelerometry to establish baseline PAEE and throughout each condition day (8-h in-lab PAEE, out-of-lab PAEE, and 3-d postcondition).

Results: Compared with baseline PAEE, total daily PAEE was significantly higher during the high-intensity condition day (153 ± 43 kcal, P = .03), unchanged during the low-intensity (-40 ± 23 kcal, P > .05) and moderate-intensity condition days (-11 ± 18 kcal, P > .05), and decreased in response to prolonged sitting (-79 ± 22 kcal, P = .03). There were no significant differences in PAEE 3-day postcondition across conditions (P > .05).

Conclusion: Despite the varying levels of PAEE accumulated during the 8-hour laboratory conditions, out-of-lab PAEE during each condition day and 3-day postcondition did not change from the baseline. These findings provide preliminary evidence that spontaneous physical activity in children does not change in response to intermittent activity or prolonged sitting.

Trial registration: NCT02831309.

Keywords: ActivityStat; activity breaks; school; sedentary time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Child
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Pediatric Obesity
  • Sitting Position*

Associated data