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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Aug;30(8):1223-9.

Is there a threshold between peak oxygen uptake and self-reported physical functioning in older adults?

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  • 1Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Durham Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, NC, USA



Few studies have examined the relationship between directly measured oxygen uptake (VO2) and self-reported physical function (PF). The purpose of this study was: 1) to examine the relationship between peak V02 and PF and 2) to determine whether a threshold or cut point exist that distinguishes between individuals reporting required assistance in the performance of functional tasks (low PF) and those who report ability to perform tasks independently (high PF).


Participants were 161 community-dwelling adults, ages 65-90, who had a baseline evaluation for a clinical trail that included measurement of peak V02 and PF consisted of a summary score combining scores from the Older Americans Resources and Services Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire, Nagi Disability Study. Rosow-Breslau Scale, Physical Function Scale of the Medical Outcomes Study, and the Falls Efficacy Scale. Decision tree, cubic spline, and logistic regression analyses explored these relationships with age, gender, education, race, body mass index, depression, and total number of chronic diseases included as important covariates.


Among all covariates examined, peak V02 was most strongly associated with (P = 0.004) with PF. There was not threshold effect. Decision tree analyses indicated that 18.3 was the optimal cut point distinguishing between low PF and High PG (P < 0.0001). Between-gender differences in PF (P = 0.002) were no longer significant when peak V02 was included in the PF model (P = 0.17).


These data indicate that individuals with a V02 < 18 report significant difficulty in the performance of daily tasks and that differences in peak V02 may explain, in part, why women report more impairment in PF.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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