Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Dawn P. Coe

Committee Members

David R. Bassett, Jr., Dixie L. Thompson


The FITNESSGRAM’s Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test is a commonly used field test to estimate peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) in youth. However, little research has been conducted to determine the influence of weight status on the accuracy of the equations used to estimate VO2peak. Purpose: To assess the agreement between VO2peak measured using indirect calorimetry during the PACER and estimated VO2peak in normal weight and overweight youth and to determine the influence of weight status on the accuracy of estimated VO2peak in 10-15 year old youth. Methods: The study included 101 participants that were classified as normal weight (n=78) or overweight (n=23) according to BMI percentiles for age and sex. Participants completed the PACER, a progressive, multistage, 20-meter shuttle run to volitional exhaustion. VO2peak was measured during the PACER test using a portable gas analysis system (Oxycon Mobile, CareFusion, Inc.). Estimated VO2peak values were calculated based on PACER performance using the Leger et al. and Mahar et al. equations. Paired samples t-tests were used to determine if significant differences existed between estimated and measured VO2peak. Independent t-tests were performed to compare the normal weight and overweight groups. Accuracy was determined using Bland-Altman plots. Results: The Leger et al. (44.3 +4.6 ml/kg/min) and Mahar et al. (46.8 +4.8 ml/kg/min) estimated values were significantly lower than measured VO2peak (49.0 +8.7 ml/kg/min) in the normal weight group. There were no significant differences between measured VO2peak (38.8 +7.1 ml/kg/min) and predicted values (40.5 +2.5 and 38.2 +6.1 ml/kg/min; Leger et al. and Mahar et al., respectively) for the overweight group. For the normal weight group, the standard error of the estimate (SEE) was Leger 5.44 ml/kg/min (Leger) and 5.33 ml/kg/min (Mahar). The SEE was 5.77 ml/kg/min (Leger) and 4.54 ml/kg/min (Mahar) for the overweight participants. Conclusions: It appears that the prediction of VO2peak from either equation based on PACER performance varies among weight status group and may be inaccurate for normal weight youth, but acceptable for overweight youth.

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