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Aerobic parameters of exercise as a function of body size during growth in children.


To examine the relationship between body weight in children and aerobic parameters of exercise, we determined the anaerobic threshold (AT), maximum O2 uptake (VO2max), work efficiency, and response time for O2 uptake (RT-VO2) in 109 healthy children (51 girls and 58 boys, range 6-17 yr old) using a cross-sectional study design. Gas exchange during exercise was measured breath by breath. The protocol consisted of cycle ergometry and a linearly increasing work rate (ramp) to the limit of the subject's tolerance. Both AT and VO2max increased systematically with body weight, whereas work efficiency and RT-VO2 were virtually independent of body size. The ratio of AT to VO2max decreased slightly with age, and its mean value was 60%. AT scaled to body weight to the power of 0.92, not significantly different from the power of 1.01 for VO2max. Thus both the AT and the VO2max increase in a highly ordered manner with increasing size, and as judged by AT/VO2max, the onset of anaerobic metabolism during exercise occurred at a relatively constant proportion of the overall limit of the gas transport system. We conclude that in children cardiorespiratory responses to exercise are regulated at optimized values despite overall change in body size during growth.

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