Psychological and cognitive factors that influence post -exercise energy intake in normal weight and overweight sedentary males

Cristen Lynn Harris, Florida International University


Physical activity is recommended to facilitate weight management. However, some individuals may be unable to successfully manage their weight due to certain psychological and cognitive factors that trigger them to compensate for calories expended in exercise. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of moderate-intensity exercise on lunch and 12-hour post-exercise energy intake (PE-EI) in normal weight and overweight sedentary males. Perceived hunger, mood, carbohydrate intake from beverages, and accuracy in estimating energy intake (EI) and energy expenditure (EE) were also assessed. The study consisted of two conditions, exercise (treadmill walking) and rest (sitting), with each participant completing each condition, in a counterbalanced-crossover design on two days. Eighty males, mean age 30 years (SD=8) were categorized into five groups according to weight (normal-/overweight), dietary restraint level (high/low), and dieting status (yes/no). Results of repeated measures, 5x2 ANOVA indicated that the main effects of condition and group, and the interaction were not significant for lunch or 12-hour PE-EI. Among overweight participants, dieters consumed significantly (p<0.05) fewer calories than non-dieters at lunch (M=822 vs. M=1149) and over 12 hours (M=1858 vs. M =2497). Overall, participants’ estimated exercise EE was significantly (p<0.01) higher than actual exercise EE, and estimated resting EE was significantly (p<0.001) lower than actual resting EE. Participants significantly (p<0.001) underestimated EI at lunch on both experimental days. Perceived hunger was significantly (p<0.05) lower after exercise (M=49 mm, SEM=3) than after rest (M=57 mm, SEM=3). Mood scores and carbohydrate intake from beverages were not influenced by weight, dietary restraint, and dieting status. In conclusion, a single bout of moderate-intensity exercise did not influence PE-EI in sedentary males in reference to weight, dietary restraint, and dieting status, suggesting that this population may not be at risk for overeating in response to exercise. Therefore, exercise can be prescribed and used as an effective tool for weight management. Results also indicated that there was an inability to accurately estimate EI (ad libitum lunch meal) and EE (60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise). Inaccuracies in the estimation of calories for EI and EE could have the potential to unfavorably impact weight management.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Harris, Cristen Lynn, "Psychological and cognitive factors that influence post -exercise energy intake in normal weight and overweight sedentary males" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3329132.