Debra Sazama1, Kendall Knetzger1, Carl Foster1, Peter Giddings1, Makayla Heim1, Cordial Gillette1, Kaylee Selden1, John P. Porcari1. The Talk Test as a Method to Detect the Transition from Moderate to Vigorous Exercise Intensity in Children. 1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA.


Introduction: Childhood obesity rates have increased over the last 40 years, in part because of increased sedentary behavior. Professional society recommendations call for approximately 60 minutes of moderate/vigorous exercise daily. However, physical education teachers do not have a reliable or simple way to evaluate exercise intensity or differentiate between moderate and vigorous exercise. The Talk Test (TT) has been shown to be a simple, valid and reliable measure of exercise intensity in adults for estimating the ventilatory threshold (VT), which is an accepted measure of the transition between moderate and vigorous exercise. It has not been established if the TT would produce the same results in children. The purpose of this study was to determine if the TT is a valid measurement of exercise intensity during incremental exercise, particularly of VT, in children. Methods: Participants attended two laboratory sessions. During the first session the participants (prepubertal children) were familiarized with the laboratory, protocols and then completed a maximal exercise test that included the use of the TT at the end of each stage. During the second session, a maximal exercise test was performed with the measurement of respiratory gas exchange in order to define VT and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). The TT results were compared to the VT. Participants VT, RPE, HR, and VO2 at each stage of the TT was analyzed using a one-way ANOVA with repeated measures to determine if there were significant differences between stages of the TT. Results: The data indicated that the equivocal stage of the TT was equal to the intensity at VT. The responses at the negative stage of the TT were significantly greater than VT and the last positive stage of the TT was significantly less than VT. Conclusion: When children are at the equivocal stage of the TT, the intensity approximates VT, just as it does in adults. This suggests that the equivocal stage of the TT is the transition between moderate and vigorous exercise in children.