Gender differences and determinants of aerobic fitness in children aged 8-11 years.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous studies of gender differences in maximum oxygen uptake have come to different conclusions. Limited data exists where the determinants of maximum oxygen uptake have been evaluated in a comprehensive manner. Thus, we examined 248 children (140 boys and 108 girls), aged 7.9-11.1 years. Body composition was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, measured variables were total body fat (TBF) and lean body mass (LBM). Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2peak) was measured by indirect calorimetry during a maximal cycle exercise test. Daily physical activity was assessed by accelerometers and duration of vigorous activity per day (VPA) was calculated. Left ventricular inner diastolic diameter (LVDD) was measured by echocardiography. Lung function was evaluated with spirometric testing and whole body plethysmography. Boys had between 8 and 18% higher values than girls for VO2peak, dependent upon whether VO2peak was expressed in absolute values or scaled to body mass, LBM or if allometric scaling was used. In multiple regression analysis absolute values of aerobic fitness were independently related to LBM, maximal heart rate (Max HR), gender, LVDD, and VPA. Furthermore, when VO2peak was scaled to body mass it was independently related to In TBF, Max HR, gender, VPA, and LVDD. Lung function had no relation to VO2peak. Our study concludes that body composition is the main predictor for VO2peak, in children aged 8-11 years, whereas VPA or LVDD has only a modest impact. Existing gender differences in VO2peak cannot be explained only by differences in body composition, physical activity, or heart size.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physiology


  • maximum oxygen uptake, dual-energy X-ray, absorptiometry, echocardiography, children, accelerometers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available