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Body fat throughout childhood in 2647 healthy Danish children: agreement of BMI, waist circumference, skinfolds with dual X-ray absorptiometry

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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Total body fat percentage (%BF) evaluated by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans (DXA %BF) is widely recognized as a precise measure of fatness. We aimed to establish national reference curves for DXA %BF, %BF calculated from skinfolds (SF %BF) and waist circumference (WC) in healthy children, and to compare agreement between the different methods.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Based on 11 481 physical examinations (anthropometry) and 1200 DXA scans from a longitudinal cohort of Danish children (n=2647), we established reference curves (LMS-method) for SF %BF, WC (birth to 14 years) and DXA %BF (8-14 years). Age- and sex-specific Z-scores for body mass index (BMI), WC and SF %BF were compared. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for agreement of WC, SF %BF and BMI with DXA %BF to identify obese children (>+1 s.d.).

RESULTS: %BF differed with age, sex, pubertal stage and social class. SF %BF correlated strongly with DXA %BF (r=0.86). BMI and WC also correlated positively with DXA %BF (Z-scores; r= 0.78 and 0.69). Sensitivity and specificity were 79.5 and 93.8 for SF %BF, 75.9 and 90.3 for BMI and 59.2 and 95.4 for WC.

CONCLUSIONS: SF %BF showed the highest correlation and best agreement with DXA %BF in identifying children with excess fat (+1 s.d.).

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)664-70
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

    Research areas

  • Absorptiometry, Photon, Adipose Tissue, Adolescent, Age Factors, Anthropometry, Body Composition, Body Mass Index, Child, Child, Preschool, Denmark, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Pediatric Obesity, Puberty, Reference Values, Sensitivity and Specificity, Sex Factors, Skinfold Thickness, Social Class, Waist Circumference

ID: 44830374