Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels Among US Youth 12 to 19 Years of Age: Findings From the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Article
October 2006

Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels Among US Youth 12 to 19 Years of Age: Findings From the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia (Drs Pate and Dowda and Ms O’Neill); National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md (Dr Wang); and The Cooper Institute, Dallas, Tex (Dr Farrell).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(10):1005-1012. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.10.1005
Abstract

Objectives  To assess cardiorespiratory fitness levels in youth aged 12 to 19 years and to examine associations between fitness and age, sex, race/ethnicity, and self-reported physical activity in this age group.

Design  Cross-sectional study.

Setting  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey's mobile examination center, throughout the United States from 1999-2002.

Participants  A representative sample of 4732 youth aged 12 to 19 years was examined; 3287 completed the treadmill test and were included in the analysis. The National Center for Health Statistics conducted the survey.

Main Exposures  Age, sex, race/ethnicity, weight status, self-reported physical activity, and television viewing.

Main Outcome Measure  Estimated maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) determined by a submaximal treadmill exercise test.

Results  Estimated V̇O2max (mL · kg−1 · min−1) was higher in males (mean ± SE, 46.4 ± 0.4) than in females (mean ± SE, 38.7 ± 0.3) but did not differ across race/ethnicity groups. Among males, older participants had higher V̇O2max values, while in females, younger participants had higher values. For both males and females, those in the normal weight group had higher fitness levels than those in the at risk for overweight and overweight groups. Approximately one third of both males and females failed to meet recommended standards for cardiorespiratory fitness.

Conclusions  In US youth, cardiorespiratory fitness is lower in males and females who are overweight than in those of normal weight, but fitness is not related to race/ethnicity. Youth who have low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary behavior are also more likely to have lower cardiorespiratory fitness.

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