The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of the distance achieved during a 6-minute walk test and a 12-minute walk/run test (Cooper test) in obese children and adolescents and to evaluate the influence of a residential treatment on the association of these predictors with the distance. A search of the Revalidation Centre Zeepreventorium (De Haan, Belgium) medical records database of all children and adolescents (age 10 to 18 yrs) treated for obesity between September 2003 and February 2006, revealed 65 charts with all relevant data (anthropometrical, maximal graded exercise, lung function, 6-minute walk test and 12-minute walk/run test) at admission as well as after 3 months treatment. The multidisciplinary treatment has a positive influence on anthropometrical variables, endurance capacity, vital capacity, and residual volume (p < 0.05). The distance covered during the 6-minute walk test and the 12-minute walk/run test is correlated with all anthropometrical data and peak VO2 (p < 0.05). After 3 months of treatment, bivariate correlation was stronger for almost every parameter compared to admission. Following a stepwise regression, BMI z-score is a dominant predictor of both field tests at admission and after 3 months treatment. VO2peak contributes only significantly in the 12-minute walk/run test at admission.
Conclusion: In obese children and adolescents BMI z-score is the most dominant predictor of the variability in performances on the 6-minute walk test and the 12-minute walk/run test at admission as well as after 3 months of treatment.