Validation of the pictorial scale of perceived exertion for children.

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Sells, Patrick
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to develop a scale for children ages 6 to 10 years of age to identify various exercise intensities. Cartoon pictures of a person exercising with five numerical levels and verbal descriptors were presented as a visual reference to exercise intensity. Twelve children performed graded maximal exercise testing on a treadmill to establish baseline measures of perceived exertion, peak heart rate and maximal oxygen consumption (VO 2peak). Additionally, the subjects performed three exercise trials of intensity production and three trials of intensity estimation on two subsequent testing sessions.
The primary findings of the children produced three different intensities during production trials when intensity was expressed as VO2 (17.54, 20.84, and 27.17 ml kg-1 min-1 ) and %VO2peak (47.4, 56.2, 73.3) at PSPEC 2, 3, and 4. The children exercised at three different intensities expressed as mean heart rates during production trials of 135.1, 142.4, and 158.3 bpm and mean %HRpeak (70.7, 74.6, and 82.9 percent) during the production trials. Estimation trial intensities (ml;kg-1;min-1) of 13.1, 18.84, and 27.64 were significantly different (p less than .05) at PSPEC levels 2, 3, and 4 as were the intensities expressed at %VO2peak (35.3, 50.4, and 74.2 percent). Significantly different (p less than .05) intensities were also observed when HR and %HRpeak were used to express intensity. The subjects exercised at a mean HR of 123.1, 135.8, and 157.2 bpm and 64.9, 71.1, and 82.3 and HRpeak for PSPEC levels 2, 3, and 4.
The results of the study establish that children between the ages of 6 and 10 years of age were capable of using the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Exertion for Children to produce different intensities during the production trials and to discern between intensities during estimation trials.
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