Wheelchair Shuttle Test for Assessing Aerobic Fitness in Youth With Spina Bifida: Validity and Reliability

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Abstract

Background

Testing aerobic fitness in youth is important because of expected relationships with health.

Objective

The purpose of the study was to estimate the validity and reliability of the Shuttle Ride Test in youth who have spina bifida and use a wheelchair for mobility and sport.

Design

Ths study is a validity and reliability study.

Methods

The Shuttle Ride Test, Graded Wheelchair Propulsion Test, and skill-related fitness tests were administered to 33 participants for the validity study (age = 14.5 ± 3.1 y) and to 28 participants for the reliability study (age = 14.7 ± 3.3 y).

Results

No significant differences were found between the Graded Wheelchair Propulsion Test and the Shuttle Ride Test for most cardiorespiratory responses. Correlations between the Graded Wheelchair Propulsion Test and the Shuttle Ride Test were moderate to high (r = .55-.97). The variance in peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) could be predicted for 77% of the participants by height, number of shuttles completed, and weight, with large prediction intervals. High correlations were found between number of shuttles completed and skill-related fitness tests (CI = .73 to −.92). Intraclass correlation coefficients were high (.77-.98), with a smallest detectable change of 1.5 for number of shuttles completed and with coefficients of variation of 6.2% and 6.4% for absolute VO2peak and relative VO2peak, respectively.

Conclusions

When measuring VO2peak directly by using a mobile gas analysis system, the Shuttle Ride Test is highly valid for testing VO2peak in youth who have spina bifida and use a wheelchair for mobility and sport. The outcome measure of number of shuttles represents aerobic fitness and is also highly correlated with both anaerobic performance and agility. It is not possible to predict VO2peak accurately by using the number of shuttles completed. Moreover, the Shuttle Ride Test is highly reliable in youth with spina bifida, with a good smallest detectable change for the number of shuttles completed.

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