Background: It is important to include large sample sizes and different factors that influence the six-minute walking distance (6MWD) in order to propose reference equations for the six-minute walking test (6 MWT).
Objective: To evaluate the influence of anthropometric, demographic, and physiologic variables on the 6 MWD of healthy subjects from different regions of Brazil to establish a reference equation for the Brazilian population.
Method: In a multicenter study, 617 healthy subjects performed two 6 MWTs and had their weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) measured, as well as their physiologic responses to the test. Delta heart rate (∆HR), perceived effort, and peripheral oxygen saturation were calculated by the difference between the respective values at the end of the test minus the baseline value.
Results: Walking distance averaged 586 ± 106 m, 54 m greater in male compared to female subjects (p<0.001). No differences were observed among the 6 MWD from different regions. The quadratic regression analysis considering only anthropometric and demographic data explained 46% of the variability in the 6 MWT (p<0.001) and derived the equation: 6 MWD(pred)=890.46-(6.11 × age)+(0.0345 × age(2))+(48.87 × gender)-(4.87 × BMI). A second model of stepwise multiple regression including ∆HR explained 62% of the variability (p<0.0001) and derived the equation: 6 MWD(pred)=356.658-(2.303 × age)+(36.648 × gender)+(1.704 × height)+(1.365×∆HR).
Conclusion: The equations proposed in this study, especially the second one, seem adequate to accurately predict the 6 MWD for Brazilians.