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Original articles  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS


The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2006 September;46(3):412-8

language: English

Aerobic fitness and somatic growth in adolescents: a cross sectional investigation in a high school context

Grassi G. P., Turci M., Sforza C.

Functional Anatomy Research Center (FARC) Laboratory of Locomotorium Functional Anatomy (LAFAL) Department of Human Morphology Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and Faculty of Motor Sciences University of Milan, Milan, Italy


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Aim. A cross-sectional investigation to study the relations between aerobic fitness and somatic growth of Italian adolescents within a school context.
Methods. The Léger and Lambert 20-m shuttle run test scores were used to estimate the oxygen uptake (V.O2max) of 290 high school adolescent students aged 14-18 years. Descriptive statistics of body mass, standing height, body mass index (BMI) and of predicted V.O2max were calculated within age and sex group.
Results. Body mass and standing height were significantly larger in males than in females, and significantly increased with age (P<0.002, analysis of variance). For standing height, a significant sex age interaction was found (P=0.0004), with a larger age-related increment in males than in females. No significant differences in BMI were found. V.O2max was significantly influenced by sex and age. The age-related decrement in V.O2max was larger in females than in males (P=0.001). Predicted V.O2max was significantly related to BMI (males: r=-0.41; females: r=-0.336) and to body mass (females: r=-0.34; males: r=-0.352). A negative relationship between BMI and V.O2max was found also in the overweight adolescents.
Conclusions. In both sexes, aerobic fitness declined with age. The decline was particularly evident in females. Low-cost methods to detect the nutritional level and aerobic performance of adolescents should be encouraged at school.

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