Measurement of the components of nonexercise activity thermogenesis

James Levine, Edward L. Melanson, Klaas R. Westerterp, James O. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) accounts for the vast majority of nonresting metabolic rate and changes in NEAT-predicted susceptibility to fat gain with overfeeding. Measuring physical activity and its components in free-living humans has been a long-standing challenge. In this study, we combine information about lightweight sensors that capture data on body position and motion with laboratory measures of energy expenditure to calculate nonfidgeting NEAT. This measurement of nonfidgeting NEAT was compared with total NEAT measured in a room calorimeter in 11 healthy subjects. The measurement of nonfidgeting NEAT accounted for 85±9% of total NEAT measured in the room calorimeter. The intraclass correlation coefficient for the two methods was 0.86 (95% confidence interval 0.56, 0.96; P<0.05). This suggests that 86% of the variance is attributable to between-subject variance and 14% to between-method disagreement. These instruments are applicable to free-living subjects; they are stand-alone, are lightweight, and allow normal daily activities. This novel technology has potential application for not only assessing NEAT but also tracking physical activity in free-living humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E670-E675
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4 44-4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Body movement
  • Energy expenditure
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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