Expression of VO2peak in Children and Youth, with Special Reference to Allometric Scaling
The aim of this review was to highlight research that has focused on examining expressions of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) in children and youth, with special reference to allometric scaling. VO2peak is considered the highest VO2 during an increasing workload treadmill or bicycle ergometer test until volitional termination. We have reviewed scholarly works identified from PubMed, One Search, EBSCOhost and Google Scholar that examined VO2peak in absolute units (L·min−1), relative units [body mass, fat-free mass (FFM)], and allometric expressions [mass, height, lean body mass (LBM) or LBM of the legs raised to a power function] through July 2015. Often, the objective of measuring VO2peak is to evaluate cardiorespiratory function and fitness level. Since body size (body mass and height) frequently vary greatly in children and youth, expressing VO2peak in dimensionless units is often inappropriate for comparative or explanatory purposes. Consequently, expressing VO2peak in allometric units has gained increased research attention over the past 2 decades. In our review, scaling mass was the most frequent variable employed, with coefficients ranging from approximately 0.30 to over 1.0. The wide variance is probably due to several factors, including mass, height, LBM, sex, age, physical training, and small sample size. In summary, we recommend that since skeletal muscle is paramount for human locomotion, an allometric expression of VO2peak relative to LBM is the best expression of VO2peak in children and youth.