Objective: To determine whether a relationship exists between left ventricular morphology and aerobic capacity in large numbers of male university students with a physically inactive and active life style.
Design: A prospective study.
Setting: Sports medicine research center.
Participants: Eleven sedentary normal-weight university students, 17 sedentary overweight university students, and 215 university athletes.
Main Outcome Measures: After the echocardiographic examination, an incremental treadmill exercise test until exhaustion was performed to measure peak oxygen uptake (VO2).
Results: In sedentary students, absolute peak VO2 in the overweight students was slightly higher than that in normal-weight students (3,024 vs. 2,912 ml/min). Relative peak VO2 (ml/min/kg) was highly negatively correlated with body mass index (kg/m2) in a total of 28 sedentary students. The correlation between absolute peak VO2 and left ventricular dimension was weak in the sedentary overweight students; however, a correlation coefficient of 0.55 was obtained in athletic students. A stepwise multiple regression showed significant determinants of absolute peak VO2 in athletic students for body surface area (45%), left ventricular dimension (7%), and certain sports (6%).
Conclusions: A physically active life style plays a role in increasing both aerobic capacity and left ventricular enlargement. Body size appeared to be a potent stimulus to left ventricular enlargement.