Food for Thought – (4/10/2023)

Food for Thought

How active is your activity?

It is well publicized that the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity each week. However, most adults are spending about 10 waking hours each day in a sedentary state, which means even when they are awake – they are barely moving. The recommended intentional exercise time based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is just not enough to negate the number of hours spent sitting. Low energy expenditure is suggested to play a role in weight gain and the development of obesity. In addition, outside of smoking, inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis has been introduced as a strategy to increase energy expenditure and tackle this inactivity challenge, without a complete disruption to your day.

What is NEAT?

NEAT refers to the energy (calories) expended for everything we do besides purposeful exercise or sleep. Examples of NEAT activity include walking down the hall to chat with a co-worker or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Added up, these types of activities can yield big results. Daily additive unplanned or unstructured low intensity activities are associated with greater energy expenditure than traditional EAT or Exercise-related Activity Thermogenesis. Studies by Levine et al. suggest that long term weight control may be easier to maintain by focusing less on EAT and more in increasing NEAT.

What is your NEAT Score?

Do you know your NEAT score? You can assess and improve your NEAT levels by following these simple steps below.  

  1. Create a list of all general activities throughout your day.
  2. Identify how many hours are spent sitting or inactive.
  3. Identify areas and ideas for improvement.
  4. Challenge yourself to focus on one to three areas at a time.

How to increase your NEAT score?

More sedentary occupations tend to lead to lower levels of NEAT. However, even those feeling glued to their desk can increase their NEAT scores without interrupting their workflow. While this is not an exhaustive list, consider some of these common suggestions to incorporate NEAT into your day.

  • Park further away from the office
  • Use a sit-to-stand desk
  • Try a walking meeting (Invite a colleague in person or on the phone)
  • Set a timer to move 5 minutes for every 30 minutes spent sitting
  • Go for a walk after each meal
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Wear a device and set a step goal daily (Grab a buddy to do it with you!)


Additional Resources

– Gina Gonnella, M.Ed.

Want more?

Check out our previous edition of Food for Thought!

Prediabetes means your fasting blood sugar levels are elevated but not to the point that meets criteria of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). To prevent the progression from prediabetes to T2DM, the key is a balanced diet approach. Learn more about the unique ways to tackle pre-diabetes with our previous Food for Thought post below!

Healthy Foods


Schedule a nutrition consultation today!

It’s not about dieting or counting calories but rather building a healthier relationship with food. Schedule your appointment today with our onsite nutritionist!

fruits and vegetables in shape of heart