Quantifying assumptions underlying peak oxygen consumption equations across the body mass spectrum

Vincent Busque, Jeffrey W. Christle, Kegan J. Moneghetti, Nicholas Cauwenberghs, Tatiana Kouznetsova, Yair Blumberg, Matthew T. Wheeler, Euan Ashley, Francois Haddad, Jonathan Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of this study is to quantify the assumptions associated with the Wasserman-Hansen (WH) and Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise: A National Database (FRIEND) predictive peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) equations across body mass index (BMI). Assumptions in pVO2 for both equations were first determined using a simulation and then evaluated using exercise data from the Stanford Exercise Testing registry. We calculated percent-predicted VO2 (ppVO2) values for both equations and compared them using the Bland–Altman method. Assumptions associated with pVO2 across BMI categories were quantified by comparing the slopes of age-adjusted VO2 ratios (pVO2/pre-exercise VO2) and ppVO2 values for different BMI categories. The simulation revealed lower predicted fitness among adults with obesity using the FRIEND equation compared to the WH equations. In the clinical cohort, we evaluated 2471 patients (56.9% male, 22% with BMI >30 kg/m2, pVO2 26.8 mlO2/kg/min). The Bland–Altman plot revealed an average relative difference of −1.7% (95% CI: −2.1 to −1.2%) between WH and FRIEND ppVO2 values with greater differences among those with obesity. Analysis of the VO2 ratio to ppVO2 slopes across the BMI spectrum confirmed the assumption of lower fitness in those with obesity, and this trend was more pronounced using the FRIEND equation. Peak VO2 estimations between the WH and FRIEND equations differed significantly among individuals with obesity. The FRIEND equation resulted in a greater attributable reduction in pVO2 associated with obesity relative to the WH equations. The outlined relationships between BMI and predicted VO2 may better inform the clinical interpretation of ppVO2 values during cardiopulmonary exercise test evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical obesity
Early online date12 Mar 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 World Obesity Federation.


  • body composition
  • cardiopulmonary exercise testing
  • fitness evaluation
  • obesity


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