The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of an 8-week aerobic-exercise training program on ventilatory threshold and ventilatory efficiency in overweight children. Twenty overweight children (BMI > 85th percentile) performed a graded cycle exercise test at baseline and were then randomly assigned to 8 weeks of stationary cycling (n = 10) or a nonexercising control group (n = 10). Ventilatory variables were examined at ventilatory threshold (VT), which was determined via the Dmax method. After 8 weeks, significant improvements occurred in the exercise group compared with the control group for oxygen uptake at VT (exercise = 1.03 ± 0.13 to 1.32 ± 0.12 L/min vs. control = 1.20 ± 0.10 to 1.11 ± 0.10 L/min, p < .05) and ventilatory equivalent of carbon dioxide (VE/VCO2) at VT (exercise = 32.8 ± 0.80 to 31.0 ± 0.53 vs. control = 30.3 ± 0.88 to 31.7 ± 0.91, p < .05). Aerobic-exercise training might help reverse the decrements in cardiopulmonary function observed over time in overweight children.
Kaufman and Dengel are with the School of Kinesiology, Kelly and Steinberger are with the Dept. of Pediatrics, and Kaiser is with the Dept. of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.