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Scaling of Peak Oxygen Uptake in Children: A Comparison of Three Body Size Index Models

GRAVES, LEE EDWIN FISHER1; BATTERHAM, ALAN M.2; FOWEATHER, LAWRENCE1; MCWHANNELL, NICOLA3; HOPKINS, NICOLA D.1; BODDY, LYNNE M.1; GOBBI, REBECCA4; STRATTON, GARETH5,6

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 12 - p 2341–2345
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31829bfa79
Applied Sciences

Purpose We aimed to compare three candidate body size index models for the scaling of aerobic fitness (V˙O2peak) in children: whole body mass, total lean body mass, and the lean mass of both legs.

Methods V˙O2peak and total lean mass of the body and both legs (via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) were assessed in 126 girls and 87 boys aged 9–11 yr. We applied nonlinear allometric models of the form V˙O2peak = a×body sizeb, adjusted for biological sex and maturity offset (years from peak height velocity). We assessed goodness of fit using the Akaike information criterion.

Results The Akaike weights (Akaike differences) were as follows: lean mass of both legs = 0.69 (0), total lean body mass = 0.31 (1.6), and whole body mass = <1e−8 (36.6). The size exponent (90% confidence interval) for the lean mass of both legs was 0.55 (0.46–0.64). V˙O2peak was 17% (13%–21%) lower in girls after controlling for the lean mass of both legs and maturity offset. After controlling for body size and sex, a 1-yr increase in maturity offset (closer to peak height velocity) was associated with a 6% (4%–9%) higher V˙O2peak.

Conclusions Allometric scaling of V˙O2peak by the lean mass of both legs provides the best model for quantifying growth-related changes in aerobic fitness in pediatric populations, although this model is only marginally superior to the total lean body mass model. There is no support for the total body mass model. Maturity and sex are also important covariates exerting a size-independent influence on peak aerobic fitness.

1Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM; 2Health and Social Care Institute, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UNITED KINGDOM; 3Department of Sports and Exercise Sciences, Chester University, Chester, UNITED KINGDOM; 4Department of Health Sciences, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM; 5College of Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea, UNITED KINGDOM; and 6School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, AUSTRALIA

Address for correspondence: Lee Graves, Ph.D., Room 1.12, Tom Reilly Building, Byrom Street, Liverpool, L3 3AF, United Kingdom; E-mail: l.e.graves@ljmu.ac.uk.

Submitted for publication December 2012.

Accepted for publication May 2013.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine