Body Size and the Growth of Maximal Aerobic Power in Children: A Longitudinal Analysis

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Adjustment of VO2max for changes in body size is important in evaluating aerobic fitness in children. It is important, therefore, to understand the normal relationship between changes VO2max and body size during growth. Over the course of 5 years, 20 children (11 boys, 9 girls) underwent annual maximal treadmill testing to determine VO2max. The mean longitudinal allometric scaling exponent for VO2max relative to body mass (M) was 1.10 ± 0.30 in the boys and 0.78 ± 0.28 in the girls (p < .05). Respective cross-sectional values were 0.53 ± 0.08 and 0.65 ± 0.03. VO2max expressed relative to M1.0, M0.75, and M0.67 rose during the 5 years in the boys, but not the girls. Significant gender differences remained when VO2max was related to lean body mass. These findings suggest (a) factors other than body size affect the development of VO2max in children, and (b) gender differences exist in VO2max during childhood which are independent of body composition.

T. Rowland is with the Department of Pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA 01 199. P. Vanderburgh is with the Department of Physical Education and Health Fitness at Springfield College, Springfield, MA 01 109. L. Cunningham is with the Department of Physical Education at Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA 01420.


Editors Note: Patty Freedson served as guest editor for the evaluation of this manuscript.

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