Scaling peak VO2 for differences in body size

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Feb;28(2):259-65. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199602000-00016.


This paper examined the influence of different statistical modeling techniques on the interpretation of peak VO2 data in groups of prepubertal, circumpubertal, and adult males (group 1M, N = 29; group 2M, N = 26; group 3M, N = 8) and females (group 1F, N = 33; group 2F, N = 34; group 3F, N = 16). Conventional comparisons of the simple per-body-mass ratio ( revealed no significant differences between the three male groups (P < 0.05). In females, a decline in VO2 between group 2F and 3F was observed (P < 0.05). Both linear and log-linear (allometric) models revealed significant increases across all three male groups for peak VO2 adjusted for body mass (P < 0.05). In females these scaling models identified a significantly lower peak VO2 in group 1F versus groups 2F and 3F (P < 0.05). Based upon the common mass exponent identified (b = 0.80, SE = 0.04), power function ratios (y.mass0.80) were generated and the logarithms of these compared. Again, results indicated a progressive increase in peak VO2 across groups 1M to 3M (P < 0.05) and an increase between groups 1F and 2F (P < 0.05). Incorporating stature into the allometric equation reduced the mass exponent to 0.71 (SE = 0.06) with the contribution of the stature exponent shown to be 0.44 (SE = 0.20). These results indicate that conventional ratio standards do not adequately account for body size differences when investigating functional changes in peak VO2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Constitution / physiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Oxygen Consumption*