Estimation of body fat among 2-to-7-year-old Spanish children by different skinfolds equations and waist-to-height ratio

Ana Isabel Gutiérrez Hervás, Ernesto Cortés Castell, Mercedes Juste Ruíz, Vicente Gil Guillén, María Mercedes Rizo Baeza


Introduction: It seems relevant to analyze the body composition in the early childhood. However, there is not an agreement in the protocol to assess body composition in this age range/group.

Objective: To determine the most useful equation to estimate the body fat percentage that preschool children contain and the utility of the waist-to-height ratio to determine abdominal obesity.

Methods: We measured (weight, height, waist circumference and skinfolds) in 285 children aged 2 to 7 years old. BMI Z-Score, waist-to-height ratio and body fat percentage were estimated by Brook and Lukaski, Siri, Goran, Slaughter, Deurenberg, Huang, Dezenberg and Hoffman equations.

Results: It was found 26% combined overweight and obesity, with similar distribution in both sexes. The body fat obtained with the Hoffman equation (15.6-31.9%) showed the highest correlation with children BMI Z-Score. Waist-to-height ratio also presented a good relationship with children weight status. There were not significant differences between gender and body fat percentage or waist-to-height ratio.

Conclusions: Hoffman equation and waist-to-height ratio could be adequate to estimate body fat percentage and abdominal obesity respectively in Spanish preschool children from medium-low socioeconomic status.

Palabras clave

Children, Preschool; obesity, abdominal; body composition; anthropometry; thickness, skinfold

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