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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.
To verify an association, if it exists, between obesity and blood pressure raised beyond the 90th percentile in children and adolescents, and to determine the measure of adiposity that best correlates with blood pressure in these subjects.
A school-based study in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
We selected randomly 1,403 students, aged from 6 to 18 years, from 545,046 students attending 521 public and private schools. Those selected completed the study.
Main measures of outcome
We recorded the weight, height, skin fold in the triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac areas, waist and hip circumference, body-mass index, and resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures using a mercury sphygmomanometer.
In univariate analyses, body mass index greater or lesser than 85th percentile, measurements of skin thickness in the subscapular and suprailiac areas, and the sum of all measurements of skinfold thickness, were associated with both systolic and diastolic measurements of blood pressure. After multivariate analyses that adjusted for all measurements of adiposity except itself, and age, race, and socioeconomic state, we found that the increased body mass index was associated with a 3.6-fold increased frequency of elevated systolic measurements of blood pressure, with 95% confidence intervals from 2.2 to 5.8, and a 2.7-fold increased frequency of elevated measurements of diastolic blood pressure, with 95% confidence intervals from 1.9 to 4.0.
Body-mass index serves as a better predictor of elevated blood pressure among children than do local measurements of adiposity.
To calculate the sensitivity, specificity and agreement of body mass index (BMI) values proposed by Cole et al. (Br. Med. J. 2000; 320: 1) and Must et al. (Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1991; 53: 839 & 54: 773) with weight-for-height index in the nutritional evaluation of children.
Criterion standards for diagnostic tests.
North-east and south-east Brazil.
Two thousand nine hundred and twenty children studied in Life Pattern Research performed by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics in 1997. Main outcome measures are the sensitivity, specificity and agreement of BMI values proposed by Must et al. (1991) and Cole et al. (2000).
Sensitivity of values proposed by both authors was around 90%. Specificity was almost 100% considering weight-for-height index as the gold standard. The agreement of both values with weight-for-height index, based on kappa results, was good and in pre-school children it was excellent.
Values proposed by Cole et al. (2000) and Must et al. (1991) should be used carefully to screen obesity in childhood but can be used to ‘diagnose’ overweight children with a very low chance of having false-positive results. Although the values proposed by both authors performed similarly, use of Cole et al.'s values should be encouraged. The latter cover children from 2 to 6 years old; their values are presented for six-month age intervals; they are based on a larger sample from six different countries; and they are related to the definition of adult obesity.
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