Health-related physical fitness of adolescents and young adults with myelomeningocele

Laurien Buffart, Rita Van den Berg - Emons, MS van Wijlen-Hempel, Henk Stam, Marij Roebroeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


To assess components of health-related physical fitness in adolescents and young adults with myelomeningocele (MMC), and to study relations between aerobic capacity and other health-related physical fitness components. This cross-sectional study included 50 adolescents and young adults with MMC, aged 16-30 years (25 males). Aerobic capacity was quantified by measuring peak oxygen uptake (peakVO(2)) during a maximal exercise test on a cycle or arm ergometer depending on the main mode of ambulation. Muscle strength of upper and lower extremity muscles was assessed using a hand-held dynamometer. Regarding flexibility, we assessed mobility of hip, knee and ankle joints. Body composition was assessed by measuring thickness of four skin-folds. Relations were studied using linear regression analyses. Average peakVO(2) was 1.48 +/- 0.52 l/min, 61% of the participants had subnormal muscle strength, 61% had mobility restrictions in at least one joint and average sum of four skin-folds was 74.8 +/- 38.8 mm. PeakVO(2) was significantly related to gender, ambulatory status and muscle strength, explaining 55% of its variance. Adolescents and young adults with MMC have poor health-related physical fitness. Gender and ambulatory status are important determinants of peakVO(2). In addition, we found a small, but significant relationship between peakVO(2) and muscle strength.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC MUSC-01-46-01

Cite this