Six-minute walk test in children and adolescents

J Pediatr. 2007 Apr;150(4):395-9, 399.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2006.12.052.


Objective: To evaluate the 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) for healthy Caucasian children and adolescents of a population-based sample from the age of 3 to 18 years.

Study design: Two hundred and eighty boys and 248 girls completed a modified test, using a measuring wheel as incentive device.

Results: Median 6MWD increased from the age of 3 to 11 years in boys and girls alike and increased further with increasing age in boys (from 667.3 m to 727.6 m), whereas it essentially plateaued in girls (655.8 m to 660.9 m). After adjusting for age, height (P = .001 in boys and P < .001 in girls) remained independently correlated with the 6MWD. In the best fitting and most efficient linear and quadratic regression models, the variables age and height explained about 49% of the variability of the 6MWD in boys and 50% in girls.

Conclusion: This modified 6-minute walk test (6MWT) proved to be safe, easy to perform, and highly acceptable to children. It provides a simple and inexpensive means to measure functional exercise capacity in children, even of young age, and might be of value when conducting comparable studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / physiology*