Table of Contents
ISRN Nutrition
Volume 2013, Article ID 723250, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Sex Differences in the Effects of Mental Work and Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity on Energy Intake in Young Adults

1Department of Physical Activity Sciences, University of Quebec, Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada G9A 5H7
2Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada G1V 0A6
3Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L1
4Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Education, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada G1V 0A6
5School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada G1V 0A6

Received 22 April 2013; Accepted 15 May 2013

Academic Editors: M. S. Buchowski, D. A. Fields, and M. M. Hetherington

Copyright © 2013 Emilie Pérusse-Lachance et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study was to examine the acute effects of mental work and moderate-intensity physical activity on various components of energy balance in young and healthy adults. With the use of a randomized crossover design, 35 participants aged 24 ± 3 years completed three 45-min conditions, namely, (i) resting in a sitting position (control), (ii) reading and writing (mental work (MW)), and (iii) exercising on a treadmill at 40% of peak oxygen uptake (exercise), followed by an ad libitum lunch. The endpoints were spontaneous energy intake (EI), energy expenditure (EE), appetite sensations, and EI for the remainder of the day. We observed that the energy cost of the control and MW conditions was about the same whereas the exercise condition increased EE to a greater extent in men than women. Exercise induced a decrease in EI relative to EE compared to the control condition that was more pronounced in men than women. However, women tended to increase their energy intake after the MW condition compared to the control one whereas an opposite trend was observed in men. None of the appetite sensation markers differed significantly between both sexes. In conclusion, men and women have specific food intake patterns when submitted to cognitive and physical stimuli.