The influence of 1 hour per day of required physical education upon aerobic fitness was tested in 546 prepubescent children recruited from an urban and a rural school in Québec. Two cohorts of experimental students began the enhanced program in Grade 1, with immediately preceding and succeeding classes as controls. V̇O2 peak (treadmill) and PWC170 were measured each year within 2 weeks of each child’s birthday. The data showed significant effects of sex (M>F) and environment (urban>rural). Experimental students showed a significant advantage of V̇O2 peak from 8 to 11 years (M>F; urban>rural). Many students reached less than a centrally limited V̇O2max, although the quality of peak effort was somewhat better in experimental than in control students. PWC170 values confirmed a training response in the boys but not in the girls. The data illustrate some of the problems of repeated testing of young children, but nevertheless support the value of training in the prepubescent years.
Roy J. Shephard is with the School of Physical and Health Education, University of Toronto, 320 Huron St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1. Hughes Lavallée was with the Dept. des sciences de la santé, Université de Québec à Trois Rivières.