Case Study on 4 Subjects to Determine the Best Determinant of VO2 max: % Body Fat or Dietary Habits: 2008

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link




The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 1, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 218-129.



The maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is very important because it is used to evaluate cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness. Without knowledge of their VO2 max value, an obese person may not know how much at risk they are for cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease which buttresses the need ‘in such an increasingly obese society, of knowing your VO2 max which can be very beneficial’ (Wilmore and Costill, 1999); due to the fact that it provides you with a baseline idea of your cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness level. The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is a relationship between an individual’s percent body fat and their dietary habits in reference to their VO2 max value. To determine if this relationship existed, a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative statistical analysis was carried out on four active individuals ranging from ages 18-30. For the purpose of this study, an R square value of 0.5 or more suggests a relationship between the VO2 max value, and dietary intake value. With an R squared value of 0.89, percent body fat depicts the most significant relationship with VO2 max. % Body fat is very important because the body uses fat for insulation, thermoregulation and, most importantly it is a form of energy storage. The most significant dietary components were carbohydrates (R2 = 0.50), total percentage of caloric intake from fats (R2 = 0.75), fruit (R2 = 0.65), grain (R2 = 0.78), and total fiber (R2 = 0.62). This study was based on only 4 subjects. As a result, data analysis can only be used to suggest relationships and guide future experiments, not to make conclusive statements or to state a level of significance.