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Open Access Research

The effect of duration of exercise at the ventilation threshold on subjective appetite and short-term food intake in 9 to 14 year old boys and girls

Natalie C Bozinovski1, Nick Bellissimo14, Scott G Thomas2, Paul B Pencharz13, Robert C Goode2 and G Harvey Anderson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, FitzGerald Building, 150 College St, Toronto, ON M5S 3E2, Canada

2 Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, 55 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S 2W6, Canada

3 Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

4 Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Faculty of Professional Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Highway, Halifax, NS B3M 2J6, Canada

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009, 6:66  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-66

Published: 9 October 2009



The effect of exercise on subjective appetite and short-term food intake has received little investigation in children. Despite a lack of reported evaluation of short-duration activity programs, they are currently being implemented in schools as a means to benefit energy balance. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of duration of exercise at the ventilation threshold (VeT) on subjective appetite and short-term food intake in normal weight boys and girls aged 9 to 14 years.


On 4 separate mornings and in random order, boys (n = 14) and girls (n = 15) completed 2 rest or 2 exercise treatments for 15 (short-duration; SD) or 45 min (long-duration; LD) at their previously measured VeT, 2 h after a standardized breakfast. Subjective appetite was measured at regular intervals during the study sessions and food intake from a pizza meal was measured 30 min after rest or exercise.


An increase in average appetite, desire to eat, and hunger (p < 0.05) was attenuated by SD exercise, but was further increased (p < 0.05) by LD exercise. However, food intake after SD and LD exercise was similar to after rest in both boys and girls (p = 0.55). The energy cost of SD and LD exercise resulted in a lower net energy balance compared to resting during the study measurement period in boys (SD: Δ = -418 ± 301 kJ; LD: Δ = -928 ± 196 kJ) and in girls (SD: Δ = -297 ± 105 kJ; LD: Δ = -432 ± 115 kJ).


Neither SD nor LD exercise at the VeT increased short-term food intake and SD exercise attenuated increases in appetite. Thus, SD exercise programs in schools may be an effective strategy for maintaining healthier body weights in children.