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Why Do Girls Use Less Oxygen During Exercise Than Boys? : Cause or Effect of Decreased Work

Reginald L. Washington, MD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Denver, CO 
 ,  Dr. Washington is Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Infants and Children, Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, Denver, CO.

Correspondence to: Reginald L. Washington, MD, Rocky Mountain Pediatric Cardiology, P.C., P/SL Professional Plaza West, 1601 E. 19th Ave, Suite 5600, Denver, CO 80218



Chest. 2000;117(3):619-620. doi:10.1378/chest.117.3.619
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All aerobic energy-producing reactions in the body depend on oxygen; therefore, an indirect estimation of energy production can be obtained by using an individual’s oxygen consumption (V̇o2). In 1923, Hill and Lupton1 reported that each person has a maximal level of oxygen consumption (V̇o2max) that equals maximum aerobic power. The measurement of V̇o2max uses a progressive incremental exercise test, usually performed on a treadmill or cycle ergometer to a point where further increments of work are theoretically accompanied by a plateau of V̇o2. High V̇o2max values are important because they reflect good function of the cardiovascular system. At the work rate corresponding to V̇o2max, additional work is limited, and the muscle and blood lactate acid concentrations accelerate. This acceleration signals a rapid increase in the anaerobic metabolism during exercise and has been termed the anaerobic threshold. The V̇o2 at the anaerobic threshold correlates well with V̇o2max in children and may serve as an effective submaximal marker of aerobic fitness.2

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