European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 85, Issue 6, pp 546–551

Peak oxygen uptake in relation to growth and maturation in 11- to 17–year-old humans

  • Neil Armstrong
  • Joanne Welsman
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s004210100485

Cite this article as:
Armstrong, N. & Welsman, J. Eur J Appl Physiol (2001) 85: 546. doi:10.1007/s004210100485


This study used multilevel modelling to examine peak oxygen uptake (\(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) ) during growth and maturation. Body mass, stature, triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses, blood haemoglobin concentration, and \(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) of boys and girls, [mean (SD)] aged 11.1 (0.4) years at the onset of the study, were measured at ages 11, 12, 13 and 17 years. Sexual maturation was assessed on the first three occasions and was assumed to be Tanner stage 5 at 17 years. The analysis was founded on 388 \(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) determinations from 132 children. The initial model revealed mass, stature and age as significant explanatory variables of \(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) with an additional positive effect for stage of maturity. Girls' values were significantly lower than those of boys and a significant age-by-sex interaction described a progressive divergence in boys' and girls' \(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) . The introduction of skinfold thicknesses produced a model with an improvement in fit. The stature term was negated and the mass exponent almost doubled. The sex and age-by-sex terms were reduced but remained significant. Many of the observed maturity effects were explained with stage 5 becoming non-significant. Blood haemoglobin concentration was a nonsignificant parameter estimate in both models. Fat-free mass was the dominant influence on the growth of \(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) but the multilevel regression models demonstrated that, with body size and fatness allowed for, \(\)\( \dot V{\rm O}_{{\rm 2peak}} \) increased with age and maturation in both sexes.

Aerobic fitness Age Fatness Sex Multilevel modelling 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Armstrong
    • 1
  • Joanne Welsman
    • 1
  1. 1.Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK

Personalised recommendations