Appropriate scaling approach for evaluating peak VO₂ development in Southern Chinese 8 to 16 years old

Chung Wah Clare YU, Ali M. MCMANUS, Chun T. AU, Hung K. SO, Adrienne CHAN, Rita Y. T. SUNG, Albert M. LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To investigate scaling approaches for evaluating the development of peak VO₂ and improving the identification of low cardiopulmonary fitness in Southern Chinese children and adolescents.
Methods: Nine hundred and twenty Chinese children and adolescents (8 to 16 years) underwent graded cardiopulmonary exercise test on a treadmill until volitional exhaustion. Peak VO₂ was corrected for the effects of body mass by ratio or allometric scaling. Z score equations for predicting peak VO₂ were developed. Correlations between scaled peak VO₂, z scores, body size and age were tested to examine the effectiveness of the approach.
Results: Eight hundred and fifty-two participants (48% male) were included in the analyses. Absolute peak VO₂ significantly increased with age in both sexes (both P<0.05), while ratio-scaled peak VO₂ increased only in males (P<0.05). Allometrically scaled peak VO₂ increased from 11 years in both sexes, plateauing by 12 years in girls and continuing to rise until 15 years in boys. Allometically scaled peak VO₂ was not correlated with body mass, but remained correlated with height and age in all but the older girls. Peak VO₂ z score was not correlated with body mass, height or age.
Conclusions: Absolute and allometric scaled peak VO₂ values are provided for Hong Kong Chinese children and adolescents by age and sex. Peak VO₂ z scores improve the evaluation of cardiopulmonary fitness, allowing comparisons across ages and sex and will likely provide a better metric for tracking change over time in children and adolescents, regardless of body size and age. Copyright © 2019 Yu et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0213674
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


Exercise equipment
Body Size
Body Height
Hong Kong
Exercise Test
body size
exercise test
exercise equipment


Yu, C. C. W., McManus, A. M., Au, C. T., So, H. K., Chan, A., Sung, R. Y. T., & Li, A. M. (2019). Appropriate scaling approach for evaluating peak VO₂ development in Southern Chinese 8 to 16 years old. PloS One, 14(3). Retrieved from