This study compared submaximal and maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2 max) in children ages 3–4 and 5–6 years. Methods appropriate for this age group were developed to elicit maximal performance on the exercise tests. Subjects (N = 22) performed progressive treadmill walking tests. The criteria used to determine whether V̇O2 max was reached were a plateauing of oxygen uptake, HR > 195, and an R > 1.00. The V̇O2 max for the 3- and 4-year-olds (44.5 ml•kg−1•min−1) was not significantly different from that of the 5- and 6-year-olds (44.1 ml•kg−1•min−1). At submaximal levels, 5- and 6-year-olds had significantly lower relative oxygen uptake, indicating better economy in walking. A large proportion of children met testing criteria for V̇O2 max. Test-retest results indicated that the tests were reliable.
The first three authors are with the Dept. of HEPE at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294. The fourth author is with the Dept. of HPER at Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35209. Request reprints from Gary Hunter.