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Title: Energy expenditure during common sitting and standing tasks: examining the 1.5 MET definition of sedentary behaviour
Authors: Mansoubi, M.
Pearson, N.
Clemes, S. A.
Biddle, S. J.
Bodicoat, D. H.
Tolfrey, K.
Edwardson, C. L.
Yates, Thomas Edward
First Published: 29-May-2015
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: BMC Public Health, 2015, 15 : 516
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sedentary behavior is defined as any waking behavior characterized by an energy expenditure of 1.5 METS or less while in a sitting or reclining posture. This study examines this definition by assessing the energy cost (METs) of common sitting, standing and walking tasks. METHODS: Fifty one adults spent 10 min during each activity in a variety of sitting tasks (watching TV, Playing on the Wii, Playing on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and typing) and non-sedentary tasks (standing still, walking at 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 mph). Activities were completed on the same day in a random order following an assessment of resting metabolic rate (RMR). A portable gas analyzer was used to measure oxygen uptake, and data were converted to units of energy expenditure (METs). RESULTS: Average of standardized MET values for screen-based sitting tasks were: 1.33 (SD: 0.24) METS (TV), 1.41 (SD: 0.28) (PSP), and 1.45 (SD: 0.32) (Typing). The more active, yet still seated, games on the Wii yielded an average of 2.06 (SD: 0.5) METS. Standing still yielded an average of 1.59 (SD: 0.37) METs. Walking MET values increased incrementally with speed from 2.17 to 2.99 (SD: 0.5 - 0.69) METs. CONCLUSIONS: The suggested 1.5 MET threshold for sedentary behaviors seems reasonable however some sitting based activities may be classified as non-sedentary. The effect of this on the definition of sedentary behavior and associations with metabolic health needs further investigation.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12889-015-1851-x
eISSN: 1471-2458
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015 Mansoubi et al.; licensee BioMed Central. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Cardiovascular Sciences

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