Journal of Applied Physiology

Heat tolerance of exercising lean and obese prepubertal boys

E. M. Haymes, R. J. McCormick, E. R. Buskirk


Seven lean and five obese boys, aged 9–12 yr, exercised in four environments: 21.1, 26.7, 29.4, and 32.2 degrees C Teff. Subjects walked on a treadmill at 4.8 km/h, 5% grade for three 20-min exercise bouts separated by 5-min rest periods. Rectal temperature (Tre), skin temperature (Tsk), heart rate (HR), sweat rate, and oxygen uptake (VO2) were measured periodically throughout the session. Lean boys had lower Tre and HR than obese boys in each of the environments. Increases in Tre were significantly greater for the obese at 26.7 and 29.4 degrees C Teff. No significant differences in Tsk and sweat rate (g-m-2-h-1) were observed between lean and obese boys. Obese boys had significantly lower oxygen consumptions per kg but worked at a significantly higher percentage of VO2max than lean boys when performing submaximal work. Responses of the obese boys to exercise in the heat were similar to those of heavy prepubertal girls studied previously, except that the boys were more tolerant of exercise at 32.2 degrees C Teff than the girls. Lean boys had lower HR than lean girls in each environment, but lower Tre only at 32.2 degrees C Teff.