Aerobic fitness among caucasian, African-American, and Latino youth

Gabriel Q. Shaibi, Geoff D.C. Ball, Michael I. Goran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: The prevalence of obesity and related comorbidities has dramatically increased in the pediatric population in recent years, and youth from ethnic minorities appear to be disproportionately affected. Although several factors play a role in these ethnic health disparities, evidence suggests fitness may also be an important mediator of disease risk in children. Therefore, the purpose of the present investigation was to compare aerobic fitness (VO2peak) in healthy Caucasian (C), African-American (AA), and Latino (L) youth and to evaluate differences after controlling for gender, maturational stage, and body composition. Measures: Seventy-three healthy boys and girls [C (n = 18), AA (n = 19), and L (n=36)] aged 7-14 years participated in the study. VO2peak was evaluated using an all-out, progressive treadmill protocol, total body composition was estimated via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and ethnicity was determined via parental questionnaire. Results: VO2peak relative to total body mass (mL/kg/tnin) was significantly lower in Latinos compared to either Caucasian or African-American children. Further, after controlling for gender, maturational stage, and body composition, L (1.68 ± 0.05 L/min) and AA (1.57 ± 0.05 L/min) youth had significantly lower VO2peak compared to C (1.84 ± 0.04 L/ min; P<.05) children. Conclusion: These results suggest that Latino and African-American children have lower aerobic fitness levels than Caucasian children and this effect is independent of gender, maturation, and body composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-125
Number of pages6
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Body composition
  • Children
  • Ethnicity
  • Fitness
  • Peak VO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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