Updated Reference Standards for Cardiorespiratory Fitness Measured with Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing: Data from the Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise National Database (FRIEND).

Kaminsky LA, Arena R, Myers J, Peterman JE, Bonikowske AR, Harber MP, Medina Inojosa JR,
Lavie CJ, Squires RW.

Mayo Clin Proc. 2021 Nov 19:S0025-6196(21)00645-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2021.08.020. Online ahead of print.

OBJECTIVE: To provide updated reference standards for cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) for the United States derived from cardiopulmonary exercise (CPX) testing when using a treadmill or cycle ergometer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty-four laboratories in the United States contributed data to the Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise National Database. Analysis included 22,379 tests (16,278 treadmill and 6101 cycle ergometer) conducted between January 1, 1968, through March 31, 2021, from apparently healthy adults (aged 20 to 89 years). Percentiles of peak oxygen consumption for men and women were determined for each decade from 20 through 89 years of age for treadmill and cycle exercise modes, as well as when defining maximal effort as respiratory exchange ratio (RER) greater than or equal to 1.0 or RER greater than or equal to 1.1.
RESULTS: For both men and women, the 50th percentile scores for each exercise mode decreased with age and were higher in men across all age groups and higher for treadmill compared with cycle CPX. The average rate of decline per decade over a 6-decade period was 13.5%, 4.0mLO2/kg/min for treadmill CPX and 16.4%, 4.3mLO2/kg/min for cycle CPX. Observationally, the mean peak oxygen consumption was similar whether using an RER criterion of greater than or equal to 1.0 or greater than or equal to 1.1 across the different test modes, ages, and for both sexes. The updated reference standards for treadmill CPX were 1.5 – 4.6 mL O2 × kg-1 × min-1 lower compared with the previous 2015 standards whereas the updated cycling standards were generally comparable to the original 2017 standards.
CONCLUSION: These updated cardiorespiratory fitness reference standards improve the representativeness of the US population compared with the original standards.