Peak oxygen uptake in relation to growth and maturation in 11- to 17-year-old humans

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001 Oct;85(6):546-51. doi: 10.1007/s004210100485.


This study used multilevel modelling to examine peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) during growth and maturation. Body mass, stature, triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses, blood haemoglobin concentration, and VO2peak of boys and girls, [mean (SD)] aged 11.1 (0.4) years at the onset of the study, were measured at ages 11, 12, 13 and 17 years. Sexual maturation was assessed on the first three occasions and was assumed to be Tanner stage 5 at 17 years. The analysis was founded on 388 VO2peak determinations from 132 children. The initial model revealed mass, stature and age as significant explanatory variables of VO2peak with an additional positive effect for stage of maturity. Girls' values were significantly lower than those of boys and a significant age-by-sex interaction described a progressive divergence in boys' and girls' VO2peak. The introduction of skinfold thicknesses produced a model with an improvement in fit. The stature term was negated and the mass exponent almost doubled. The sex and age-by-sex terms were reduced but remained significant. Many of the observed maturity effects were explained with stage 5 becoming non-significant. Blood haemoglobin concentration was a nonsignificant parameter estimate in both models. Fat-free mass was the dominant influence on the growth of VO2peak but the multilevel regression models demonstrated that, with body size and fatness allowed for, VO2peak increased with age and maturation in both sexes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Skinfold Thickness