This study was conducted to determine if VO2, of stepping in children is affected by altering the step platform height based on leg length. The effect of leg length on VO2 and heart rate (HR) during stepping was examined in 19 children, ages 8–17, who stepped onto 5 different bench heights that corresponded to hip angles of 65°, 73°, 82°, 90°, or 98°. VO2 and HR response to a work load of 8 m · min−1 assumed a U-shaped curve with 82° assuming the lowest point of the curve. Efficiency of stepping was significantly higher at 82° when compared to the other hip angles. It was concluded that VO2 and HR in children is influenced by leg length during stepping, and there is an optimum step height for stepping that can be determined from the ratio of leg length to stature.
K. Francis and S. Hopkins are with the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294. R. Feinstein is with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.