Exercise capacity in Dutch children: New reference values for the Bruce treadmill protocol
The Bruce treadmill protocol is suitable for children 4 years of age and older. Dutch reference values were established in 1987. We considered that children's exercise capacity has deteriorated due to changes in physical activity patterns and eating habits. We determined new reference values and evaluated determinants of exercise capacity. Healthy Dutch children (n=267) aged 6-13 years participated in this cross-sectional observational study. The maximal endurance time on the treadmill was the criterion of exercise capacity. Furthermore, we obtained data on anthropometry, smoking habits, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, sports participation, and school transport habits. The maximal endurance time for children aged up till 10 was lower (up to 1.6 and 1.4 min in girls and boys, respectively) than previously published. Body mass index was negatively, and intense sports participation was positively associated with endurance time (β=-0.412 and 0.789, respectively; P<0.001). In conclusion, exercise capacity seems to have deteriorated in Dutch children aged up till 10 years whereas the values from the older children are remarkably similar to those from the previous study.