A 15-year physical activity pattern is positively related to aerobic fitness in young males and females (13-27 years)

H C Kemper, J W Twisk, L L Koppes, W van Mechelen, G B Post

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The purpose of this paper is to test the hypothesis that daily physical activity over a period of 15 years has been beneficial to aerobic fitness in young male and female participants (13-27 years) in the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study. Only subjects with the maximal data of six sets of measurements were included (83 male and 98 female participants). Daily physical activity was assessed using a standardized interview on activity and expressed as a weighted activity score. Aerobic fitness was assessed using a maximal running test on a treadmill and measuring the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and the maximal slope of the track (Smax). To assess the longitudinal relationship between daily physical activity and aerobic fitness a real longitudinal analysis was carried out with generalized estimating equations, adjusting for differences in initial aerobic fitness at age 13, and for other lifestyle (dietary intake, smoking and alcohol consumption) and biological parameters (biological age, body fat, blood pressure and concentration of serum cholesterol). A significant relationship (P < 0.01) was observed between daily physical activity and both VO2max and Smax. It can be concluded that the development of aerobic fitness between the age of 13 and 27 years is independently and positively related to daily physical activity in this group of male and female participants in the study. The functional implications, however, are small: a relatively high increase in the weighted physical activity score of 30% over a period of 15 years results in a 2%-5% increase in aerobic fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of applied physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2001


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness
  • Running

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