Due to the recent discovery of exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia (EIAH) in healthy active women with normal levels of peak oxygen uptake (V'(O(2)peak), this study examined the incidence of EIAH in prepubescent females. Nineteen healthy, active, prepubescent females (X +/- SD: age = 11.1 +/- 1.6 years; height = 145.8 +/- 9.1 cm; weight = 35.6 +/- 7.0 kg) performed a progressive maximal exercise test on an electronically braked cycle ergometer starting at 0 W and increasing power by 15 W. min(-1). During this test, expired gases, heart rate (HR), and percent arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation (%SaO(2)) were measured. Results for physiological variables at maximal exercise were as follows: V'(O(2)peak) = 43.7 +/- 7.0 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1); HR(max) = 199 +/- 5 beats x min(-1); %SaO(2) = 96.6 +/- 1.2%. For nearly all subjects, the %SaO(2) at maximal exercise was above levels that would reduce V'(O(2)peak). Therefore, in comparison to previous reports of EIAH in adult women with similar V'(O(2)peak), EIAH does not appear to occur in the prepubescent female population.