Comparison of the diagnostic quality of body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio in screening skinfold-determined obesity among children

Hervé Hubert, Comlavi B. Guinhouya, Laurent Allard and Alain Durocher

This study compared the diagnostic quality of the body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) in screening obesity among children, according to gender and maturation. A sample of 65 boys and 57 girls aged from 6.8 to 11.8 years underwent anthropometry and total percentages of body fat (%TBF) – the reference criterion – were obtained by skinfolds. WC and WHtR were more sensitive than BMI. Furthermore, WC was more consistent in terms of the balance between sensitivity and specificity than BMI or WHtR, across gender and maturational status. BMI displayed better accuracy values (86.8–95.2%) among boys and early maturers. WHtR was least useful in classifying children's obesity status. Waist circumference exhibits an overall better performance, among boys and late maturers.

Paediatricians should systematically add WC to clinical and epidemiological measurements.

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2009, 12(4),  449-451

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