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Anthropol Anz. 1999 Dec;57(4):325-37.

Comparisons of fatness indicators in Budapest children.

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National Institute of Child Health, Budapest, Hungary.


The aim of this study was to estimate the fatness level of Budapest children and youth in different ways and to compare these estimations using a large representative sample. Eighteen body measurements were taken on 2606 healthy boys and 2471 healthy girls aged between 3 and 18 years. About 20% of this sample was measured by the Futrex 5000A near infrared (NIR) spectrophotometer to assess the body fat percent (data of 419 boys and 462 girls aged between 5 and 18 years were analysed). Triceps skinfold thickness (TSF), sum of triceps, medial calf, subscapular and suprailiac skinfold thicknesses (SFS), body fat percent estimated according to Slaughter et al. (%BF), BMI (calculated from height and weight) and body fat percent assessed by NIR-method (NIR%BF) were compared. chi 2 tests of independence show significant connections among the distributions ranged by the five fatness indicators. However, correlation coefficients and standard errors indicate that strong relationships are only among the assessments based on skinfold thicknesses (r = 0.92-0.97, SEE = 1.8-2.6%). BMI and NIR%BF assess body fatness differently compared to skinfold thicknesses: r-values are moderate and SEE-values are relatively large (r = 0.59-0.87, SEE = 1.9-4.7%). These findings can be seen in both the boys and the girls. NIR%BF comparing to %BF significantly overpredicts body fat percent in the boys and significantly underpredicts it in the girls. BMI, height and weight are not in significant correlation with NIR%BF in the boys but there are moderate correlations in the girls. Our suggestion is that more research is needed with the use of NIR-method in children and adolescents, and it is necessary to refine prediction equations taking into consideration very carefully sex sand age differences.

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