Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport

Document Type



Background: Submaximal exercise tests use heart rate responses to low-to-moderate intensity activity in order to predict cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max). Currently used tests may be inappropriate for obese populations as obese women have altered heart rate responses to exercise. The purpose of this project is to test the validity of the Modified Bruce Protocol submaximal treadmill test in obese women. Methods: Normal-weight (NWG) and obese women (OBG) completed the Modified Bruce submaximal treadmill test (to predict VO2max using previously validated equations) and a maximal graded exercise test on a treadmill using the Standard Bruce Protocol (to obtain an actual VO2max) on two separate occasions. The relationships between actual and predicted VO2max values were analyzed using correlation coefficients. Results: 9 NWG (age: 23.1±8.0 y, body fat: 23.5±4.9%) and 9 OBG (age: 22.0±4.8 y, body fat: 36.9±4.4%) women participated. Actual and predicted VO2max values were not correlated among the OBG (r=0.48, p=0.23) but were positively correlated in the NWG (r=0.71, p=0.03). Conclusions: Protocols for predicting fitness in NWG women do not appear to be valid in obese women. Separate equations should be considered in order to maximize the accuracy of exercise testing in obese women, and thus improve health care providers’ ability to evaluate patients and tailor exercise prescriptions.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Rachel Tinius


Exercise Physiology | Exercise Science | Sports Medicine