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Bo Fernhall, Ken Pitetti, Nancy Stubbs and Louis Stadler Jr.

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between VO2max and the 1/2-mile run-walk and the reliability of each in children with mental retardation (MR). Twenty-three children (13 boys, 10 girls) with mild or moderate MR participated in the study. Two maximal treadmill protocols with metabolic measurements and two 1/2-mile run-walk trials were randomly conducted on separate days. There was no difference between Trial 1 and Trial 2 for VO2max (28.2 vs. 29.6 ml · kg−1 · min−1), maximal heart rate (175 vs. 177 bpm), or run-walk time (7.2 vs. 7.1 min). The test-retest correlations were r = .90 for VO2max, r = .81 for maximal heart rate, and r = .96 for the 1/2-mile run-walk (p < .05). The correlation between VO2max and the 1/2-mile run-walk was r = −.60 (p < .05). Adding body mass index to the model improved R to .67 (SEE = 7.3). The 1/2-mile run-walk was a reliable test, but had questionable validity as an indicator of aerobic capacity in children with mild and moderate MR.

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Kenneth H. Pitetti, Jeffrey E. Fernandez, David C. Pizarro and Nancy B. Stubbs

This study set out to develop a simple field testing protocol for evaluating the aerobic capacity, forearm isometric strength, and percent body fat of mentally retarded individuals (MRI). A total of 33 (MR) (M IQ=68) subjects (26 males, 7 females) ranging in age from 12 to 49 years participated in this study. A submaximal exercise test using the Schwinn Air-Dyne ergometer was used to estimate aerobic capacity (V̇O2max). Forearm strength was determined by using a hand grip isometric dynamometer. Percent body fat (%BF) was determined by the skinfold method and bioelectrical impedance. All 33 MR subjects who were tested successfully completed the fitness assessment protocol. Correlation coefficients for directly measured versus estimated V̇O2 max and test-retest for forearm strength for 10 of the subjects was .91 and .95, respectively. Slight variations were seen in the methods used to determine %BF. Based on these statistics, it is recommended that the protocol used in this study be considered by those involved in the physical education or training of MRI.

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Kenneth H. Pitetti, Bo Fernhall, Nancy Stubbs and Louis V. Stadler Jr.

The purpose of this study was to determine if a step test could be feasible, reliable, and valid for youths with educable (EMR) or trainable (TMR) mental retardation. Thirteen males and 11 females (age M = 14.7 ± 2.7 yr) with EMR or TMR participated in this study. Three step tests were employed using one platform height and stepping frequencies of 13, 15, and 17 ascents/min for 3 min. Recovery HR was used to estimate VO2peak. Though significant, correlations between the recovery HR and VO2peak for the 15 (r = −0.48) and 17 (r = −0.46) ascents/min were not high enough to be considered valid indicators of VO2peak. The large standard errors of the estimate and total errors suggested systematic errors of prediction. Furthermore, the measured VO2peak was significantly different from the estimated values at all step rates (p < .05). The step-test was relatively feasible, but was not a valid test of VO2peak in this population.

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Kenneth H. Pitetti, James A. Jackson, Nancy B. Stubbs, Kathryn D. Campbell and Saraswathy S. Battar

Comparative and longitudinal studies were performed to determine the effect of Special Olympic activities on the physical fitness of participants. The comparative study compared cardiovascular fitness, percent body fat, and blood lipid profiles of non-Down, mildly mentally retarded adult Special Olympic participants (SOP) with those of nontraining, nonhandicapped (NTNH) and training nonhandicapped (TNH) adults. The results indicated that SOP displayed lower fitness profiles than TNH. Male SOP demonstrated fitness profiles similar to NTNH while female SOP showed lower cardiovascular fitness levels than both TNH and NTNH. The longitudinal study compared cardiovascular fitness and percent body fat of non-Down, mildly mentally retarded adult SOP before and after 4 to 18 months of Special Olympic activities. This latter study showed no significant change in body weight, percent body fat, or cardiovascular fitness during a time period that averaged over 13 months for each participant. The results indicated that the intensity level of activity for the SOP in this study failed to improve physical fitness.