Recovery Responses to Maximal Exercise in Healthy-Weight Children and Children With Obesity

Elizabeth A. Easley, W. Scott Black, Alison L. Bailey, Terry A. Lennie, Wilma J. Sims, Jody L. Clasey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine differences in heart rate recovery (HRRec) and oxygen consumption recovery (VO2 recovery) between young healthy-weight children and children with obesity following a maximal volitional graded exercise test (GXTmax). Method: Twenty healthy-weight children and 13 children with obesity completed body composition testing and performed a GXTmax. Immediately after the GXTmax, HRRec and VO2 recovery were measured each minute for 5 consecutive minutes. Results: There were no statistically significant group differences in HRRec for the 5 min following maximal exercise, Wilks’s Lambda =.885, F(4, 28) = 0.911, p =.471, between the healthy-weight children and children with obesity despite statistically significant differences in body fat percentage (BF%; healthy-weight children, 18.5 ± 6.1%; children with obesity, 41.1 ± 6.9%, p <.001) and aerobic capacity relative to body mass (VO2 peak; healthy-weight children, 46.8 ± 8.2 mL/kg/min; children with obesity, 31.9 ± 4.7 mL/kg/min, p <.001). There were statistically significant differences in VO2 recovery for the 5 min following exercise, Wilks’s Lambda =.676, F(4, 26) = 3.117, p =.032. There were no statistically significant correlations between HRRec and body mass index (BMI), BF%, VO2peak, or physical activity. Conclusions: In a healthy pediatric population, obesity alone does not seem to significantly impact HRRec, and because HRRec was not related to obesity status, BMI, or BF%, it should not be used as the sole indicator of aerobic capacity or health status in children. Using more than one recovery variable (i.e., HRRec and VO2 recovery) may provide greater insight into cardiorespiratory fitness in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported in part by The University of Kentucky Pediatric Exercise Physiology Laboratory Endowment and The University of Kentucky College of Education Turner Thacker Research Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 SHAPE America.


  • Aerobic capacity
  • body composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology


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