The dose-response association between V̇O2peak and self-reported physical activity in children

Alan M. Nevill, Michael Duncan, Gavin Sandercock

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    Background: Previous research into the association between aerobic fitness and physical activity in children is equivocal. However, previous research has always assumed that such an association was linear. This study sought to characterize the dose–response association between physical activity and aerobic fitness and to assess whether this association is linear or curvilinear and varies by sex, age and weight status. Methods: Physical activity (assess using the Physical Activity Questionnaire), aerobic fitness (20 m shuttle-run), BMI, screen-time and socio-demographic data were collected at ages 12, 14 and 16 years in (n = 1422) volunteers from 9 English schools. Multilevel-regression modelling was used to analyse the longitudinal data. Results: The analysis identified a significant inverted “u-shaped” association between VO 2max and PAQ. This relationship remained having controlling for the influences of sex, age and weight status. Daily screen time >4 hours and deprivation were also associated with being less fit (P < 0.01). Conclusions: This longitudinal study suggests that the dose–response relationship between PA and aerobic fitness in children is curvilinear. The health benefits of PA are greater in less active children and that sedentary and less active children should be encouraged to engage in PA rather than more active children to increase existing levels of PA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1829-1835
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
    Issue number16
    Early online date13 May 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Sports Sciences on 13/05/2021, available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Weight Status
    • longitudinal
    • aerobic fitness
    • multi-Level Modelling


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