Author(s): Levine JA
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. NEAT can be measured by one of two approaches. The first approach is to measure or estimate total NEAT. Here, total daily energy expenditure is measured and from it, the basal metabolic rate-plus-thermic effect of food is subtracted. The second approach is the factoral approach whereby the components of NEAT are quantified and total NEAT calculated by summing these components. The amount of NEAT that humans perform represents the product of the amount and types of physical activities and the thermogenic cost of each activity. The factors that impact a human's NEAT are readily divisible in biological factors such as weight, gender and body composition and environmental factors such occupation or dwelling within a "concrete jungle." The impact of these factors combined explains the substantial variance in human NEAT. The variability in NEAT might be viewed as random and unprogrammed but human data contradict this thesis. It appears that changes in NEAT accompany experimentally induced changes in energy balance and may be important in the physiology of weight change. NEAT and a sedentary lifestyle may thus be of profound importance in obesity.