Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): a component of total daily energy expenditure

J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2018 Jun 30;22(2):23-30. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2018.0013.


Purpose: The purpose of this review is to promote awareness of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) as a new strategy to increase energy expenditure, and to manage obesity.

Methods: The content of this review is based on a literature search of PubMed and the Google Scholar search engine, using the search terms obesity, energy expenditure, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and sitting disease.

Results: Daily energy expenditure is of great interest because most obese individuals have no exercise activity-related thermogenesis (EAT); thus their physical activity-related energy expenditure (PEE) is comprised almost entirely of NEAT. Consequently, NEAT represents the main variable component of daily total energy expenditure (TEE); this varies considerably, both within among individuals. These somewhat unplanned and unstructured low level physical activities are associated with energy expenditure in excess of the resting metabolic rate (RMR). They may therefore have the potential to stimulate greater energy expenditure over time with a higher rate of adherence.

Conclusion: In conclusion, NEAT is a highly variable component of daily TEE and a low level of NEAT is associated with obesity. NEAT enhances lifestyle, and variations in individual and environmental factors can significantly affect daily energy expenditure. Therefore, well designed longitudinal studies that focus on personal behavioral approaches and re-engineered environments to increase NEAT should be conducted in the future.

Keywords: Obesity.