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Excessive body fat, mainly abdominal fat, is associated with higher cardiovascular risk. However, a fat localisation measurement that would be more indicative of risk in adolescents has not yet been established.
This study was conducted in order to evaluate the correlation between body fat location measurements and cardiovascular disease risk factors in female adolescents.
Materials and methods:
A total of 113 girls – 38 eutrophic according to their body mass index but with a high percentage of body fat, 40 eutrophic with adequate body fat, and 35 with excessive weight – were evaluated using 15 anthropometrical measurements and 10 cardiovascular risk factors.
The central skinfold was the best measurement for predicting variables such as glycaemia and high-density lipoprotein; waist circumference for insulin and homeostasis model assessment; coronal diameter for total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein; sagittal abdominal diameter for triglycerides and leptin; hip circumference for blood pressure; and the central/peripheral skinfold ratio for homocysteine. The correlation between the measurements and the number of risk factors showed that waist circumference and the waist/stature ratio produced the best results.
The results suggest that the body fat distribution in adolescents is relevant in the development of cardiovascular risk factors. Simple measurements such as waist circumference and the waist/stature ratio were the best predictors of a risk of disease and they should therefore be associated with the body mass index in clinical practice in order to identify those adolescents at higher risk.
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