Importance of proper scaling of aerobic power when relating to cardiometabolic risk factors in children

Robert G. McMurray, Peter A. Hosick, Anna Bugge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: The relationship between cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRF) and aerobic power (VO 2max) scaled as mL O2 per kilogram body mass is controversial because mass includes both fat and fat-free mass, and fat mass is independently associated with the CMRF. Aim: To examine common units used to scale VO 2max and their relationships to mean blood pressure (MBP), total cholesterol (TC), HDL cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and cumulative risk score (z-score). Subjects: 1784, 8-18 year-old youths, 938 girls and 886 boys. Methods: Fasting blood samples were obtained. VO 2max was estimated in mL/min from cycle ergometry and scaled to body mass (kg), fat free mass (kgFFM), body surface area (m 2), height (cm) and allometric (mL/kg 0.67/min). Results: Unadjusted correlations between CMRF and many of the scaled VO 2max units were significant (p < 0.0001), especially for MBP, HOMA-IR, HDL and z-score, with lower correlations for TC and TG. After adjusting for ancestry, sex, height and body fat associations were greatly weakened (r < 0.09), except for MBP. Conclusions: On a population basis, the physical characteristics of the child, especially body fat, are more related to CMRF than any scaled units of VO 2max; thus care is needed when relating fitness and health issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-654
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Mean blood pressure
  • VO
  • body fat
  • cholesterol
  • fat-free mass
  • insulin resistance


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