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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Mar;57(3):405-9.

Differences in body composition between Singapore Chinese, Beijing Chinese and Dutch children.

Author information

1
University Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. padeu@singnet.com.sg

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage (BF%) in children of different ethnic background.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional observational study.

SETTINGS:

The study was performed in three different locations, Singapore, Beijing and Wageningen (The Netherlands).

SUBJECTS:

In each centre 25 boys and 25 girls, aged 7-12 y, were selected. They were matched on age, sex and body height.

METHODS:

Body weight and body height was measured following standardized procedures. The body mass index (BMI) was calculated as weight/height squared (kg/m(2)). Body fat was measured by densitometry in Beijing and Wageningen and by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in Singapore. The DXA measurements in Singapore were validated against densitometry.

RESULTS:

There were no significant differences in BF% or BMI within each gender group across the three study sites. However, after controlling for (non-significant) differences in age and BF%, the Singapore children had a lower (mean+/-s.e.) BMI (15.6+/-0.3) than the Beijing 17.6+/-0.3) and Wageningen (16.9+/-0.3) children. For the same BMI, age and sex the Singapore children had a significant higher BF% (24.6+/-0.7) than the Beijing (19.2+/-0.8) and Wageningen (20.3+/-0.7) children.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study strongly suggests that the relationship between BF% and BMI (or weight and height) is different among children of different ethnic background. Consequently growth charts and BMI cut-off points for underweight, overweight and obesity in children may have to be ethnic-specific.

PMID:
12627175
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601569
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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