The OMNI perceived exertion scale was developed for children to report perceived effort while performing physical activity; however no studies have formally examined age-related differences in validity. This study evaluated the validity of the OMNI-RPE in 4 age groups performing a range of lifestyle activities.
206 participants were stratified into four age groups: 6-8 years (n = 42), 9-10 years (n = 46), 11-12 years (n = 47), and 13-15 years (n = 71). Heart rate and VO2 were measured during 11 activity trials ranging in intensity from sedentary to vigorous. After each trial, participants reported effort from the OMNI walk/run scale. Concurrent validity was assessed by calculating within-subject correlations between OMNI ratings and the two physiological indices.
The average correlation between OMNI ratings and VO2 was 0.67, 0.77, 0.85, and 0.87 for the 6-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-15 y age groups, respectively.
The OMNI RPE scale demonstrated fair to good evidence of validity across a range of lifestyle activities among 6- to 15-year-old children. The validity of the scale appears to be developmentally related with RPE reports closely reflecting physiological responses among children older than 8 years.