Growth in peak aerobic power during adolescence

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Sep;36(9):1616-24. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000139807.72229.41.


Purpose: To model the growth of peak aerobic power during adolescence in both sexes followed longitudinally from 10 to 18 yr.

Methods: Peak aerobic power (peak VO2) was measured annually during a maximal treadmill test with the Bruce protocol. Height and weight were measured semiannually. The Preece-Baines Model I growth function was used to fit curves to data for individuals with >/= six observations for peak aerobic power to estimate age at peak velocity (PV) for peak VO2 (age at PVPVO2), PVPVO2 (L x min(-1) x yr(-1)), and value at PVPVO2 (L x min(-1)) for each individual. Curves were successfully fitted for 83 individuals (48 males, 35 females). The model was also fitted to individual data for height and weight to estimate ages at peak height velocity (PHV) and peak weight velocity (PWV). Age at PVPVO2 was compared with ages at PHV and PWV. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between ages at PV and PV for peak VO2, height, and weight.

Results: Mean ages at PVPVO2 are 12.3 +/- 1.2 yr for females and 14.1 +/- 1.2 yr for males. Peak VO2 increases in both sexes throughout adolescence, with males having higher values than females at all ages. Age at PVPVO2 occurs nearly coincident with PHV and before PWV in both sexes. Correlation coefficients among ages at PHV, PWV, and PVPVO2 suggest a general maturity factor for body size and aerobic power.

Conclusion: Growth in peak VO2 exhibits a clear growth spurt in both sexes during adolescence. The growth spurt occurs earlier in females but is of greater magnitude in males.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Belgium
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption