Information on this website can be used in multiple ways, which are noted below. Values are listed according to 16 major categories, followed by specific activities within those categories. Each activity has a code and separate METy values for each of 4 age groups (6-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18 years). Some values represent measured values, while others were imputed (see Methods for explanation).

Ways to use the information

NCCOR Core Members agree to conduct activities that are designed to:


What is a METy

In adults, 1 MET represents an oxygen uptake of 3.5 mL·kg-1·min-1 or 1 kcal·kg-1·hr-1. Due to metabolic differences in children and adolescents, it is well-known that the adult MET value is not applicable to children. Youth have higher basal metabolic rates per unit body mass than adults, and typically expend more energy per kilogram body mass for physical activities than adults.

Because of this 1 METy is expressed as activity energy expenditure divided by estimated basal metabolic rate.

How should this information be used?

Values are best used to represent group level estimates for energy expenditure. In cases where individual estimation is desired, users should realize that energy expenditure can be influenced by many factors not represented by values in the table (e.g., body size, economy of movement, etc.). Thus, users should understand that these values are truly estimates and are not recommended to be used for precise estimates of energy balance.

What do the activity codes mean?

Codes have 6 digits. The first two digits represent activity category, the next three digits represent specific activity, and the final digit represents age group. It is important to note that in the web version, age category is represented by an “x” in the activity code, because the 4 age group values are listed across one row in separate columns.  However, in the downloadable file, age group is included in each code for each METy value.

Example code for walking at 3 mph for a 13-15 year-old:

Code =Activity CatagorySpecific ActivityAge Group
XXXXWalkingWalking 3.0 mph13-15 yrs

How do I calculate energy expenditure from METy values

Total energy cost of a physical activity can be estimated based on the METy from the Youth Compendium, a measured or computed BMR, and duration of the specific activity, as follows:

Total energy cost (kcal) = METy x BMR (kcal/min) x duration (min)
where BMR for boys is measured or predicted from Schofield equations:
3–10 y BMR (kcal/min) = [22.706 × Weight (kg) + 504.3]/1440
10–18 y BMR (kcal/min) = [17.686 × Weight (kg) + 658.2]/1440

and where BMR for girls is measured or predicted from Schofield equations:
3-10 y BMR (kcal/min) = [20.315 × Weight (kg) + 485.9]/1440
10-18 y BMR (kcal/min) = [13.384 × Weight (kg) + 692.6]/1440

Example: What is the energy expenditure for a 14-yr-old girl (who weighs 40 kg) walking at 3 mph for 20 minutes?

Total energy cost = METy x BMR (kcal/min) x duration (min)
x BMR x 20 where BMR = [13.384 × 40 kg + 692.6]/1440
3.9 x .853 x 20 = 66.5 kcal

How do I search the table?

Needs to be completed after web design

How do I download the data?

Click on the link provided. Please see “Download” section for further details.

How do I choose an age group if the age of children/adolescents in my sample overlaps two groups?

Whenever possible, assign the METy value according to appropriate age. For example, if there are 8-12 year-olds in your sample, you would assign 8- and 9-year-olds to the 6-9 age group value and 10-12 year-olds to that group. If this is not possible, use the average of the two age categories that apply.

What do I do if I cannot find my activity?

If you cannot find the exact activity you are looking for, search the compendium for a similar activity in terms of sitting/standing or active, and use the met value associated with that activity.

Download Information

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