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Open Access

Relationship of various body composition parameters used for predicting VO2max

  • Julie Culbertson1Email author,
  • Allyn Byars2,
  • Susan Keith2 and
  • Mike Greenwood1
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition20085(Suppl 1):P12

Published: 17 September 2008


Body Mass IndexExercise TreadmillAerobic PowerTreadmill TestBioelectrical Impedance Analysis


Forty-six male and twenty-eight female university students (n = 74), ages 18–32 (21.41 +/- 2.54) volunteered to participate in a study examining the relationship of various body parameters used for predicting aerobic power (VO2max).


Participants performed a graded exercise treadmill test measuring VO2max as well as a 6-minute walk test within 1 week of each other. Height, weight, self-report of physical activity (PARS), body mass index (BMI), and estimated percent body fat (skinfold and bioelectrical impedance analysis) were also measured including the recording of participant demographics.


Using multiple linear regression, a model was produced where significant predictors of VO2max (p < 0.05) included estimated body fat percentage from sum of three skinfolds (p < .001) and BMI (p = .024). The generalized equation (R = .741, R2 = .549, SEE = 7.10) derived from the model to predict VO2max was: 72.32 + (-.949 × %fat from skinfolds) – (.392 × BMI). Variables excluded (p > 0.05) from the model included 6-minute walk test time, PARS, height, weight, gender, age, and percent body fat from bioelectrical impedance analysis.


It was concluded that that percent body fat and BMI are significant predictors of VO2max. Although the relationship between VO2max and the other variables examined in this study were not significant, it may have been due to the homogeneity of these parameters (e.g., age and activity levels) in the participants and the lack of the 6-minute walk test to discriminate among fitness levels in university students. However, these results demonstrate the importance of the relationship between BMI and percent body fat (estimated from skinfolds) in predicting VO2max without maximal testing.

Authors’ Affiliations

Baylor University, Waco, USA
Angelo State University, San Angelo, USA


© Culbertson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.