VO2max in overweight and obese adults

Wood, Rachel E., Hills, Andrew P., Hunter, Gary R., King, Neil Anthony, & Byrne, Nuala M. (2010) VO2max in overweight and obese adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(3), pp. 470-477.

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether adiposity affects the attainment of VO2max.

Methods: Sixty-seven male and 68 female overweight (body mass index (BMI) = 25-29.9 kg·m-2) and obese (BMI >= 30 kg·m-2) participants undertook a graded treadmill test to volitional exhaustion (phase 1) followed by a verification test (phase 2) to determine the proportion who could achieve a plateau in VO2 and other "maximal" markers (RER, lactate, HR, RPE).

Results: At the end of phase 1, 46% of the participants reached a plateau in VO2, 83% increased HR to within 11 beats of age-predicted maximum, 89% reached an RER of >=1.15, 70% reached a blood lactate concentration of >=8 mmol·L-1, and 74% reached an RPE of >=18. No significant differences between genders and between BMI groups were found with the exception of blood lactate concentration (males = 84% vs females = 56%, P < 0.05). Neither gender nor fatness predicted the number of other markers attained, and attainment of other markers did not differentiate whether a VO2 plateau was achieved. The verification test (phase 2) revealed that an additional 52 individuals (39%) who did not exhibit a plateau in V·O2 in phase 1 had no further increase in VO2 in phase 2 despite an increase in workload.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that the absence of a plateau in VO2 alone is not indicative of a failure to reach a true maximal VO2 and that individuals with excessive body fat are no less likely than "normal-weight" individuals to exhibit a plateau in VO2 provided that the protocol is appropriate and encouragement to exercise to maximal exertion is provided.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Scopus
15 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 38445
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Maximal Aerobic Power, Obesity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Exercise Testing
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181b666ad
ISSN: 1530-0315
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 American College of Sports Medicine
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2010 21:46
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2017 03:01

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