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J Pediatr. 1991 Jun;118(6):975-80.

Impact of pubertal development on body fat distribution among white, Hispanic, and Asian female adolescents.

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Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California.


Variation in the waist/hip ratio (WHR) may be related to changes in hormonal secretion associated with pubertal maturation. We therefore studied the effects of race, pubertal development, and body fatness on WHR during adolescence in a multiethnic population. A total of 688 white, Asian, and Hispanic female adolescents (mean (+/- SD) 12.4 +/- 0.7 years), participating in the evaluation of a multisite school-based health education program, were included in these analyses. Self-assessed stage of puberty and measurements of height, weight, waist circumference, and hip circumference were obtained from each participant. The WHR and age-adjusted body mass index were calculated. Analysis of covariance demonstrated that puberty significantly affects hip circumference and WHR but not waist circumference among female adolescents. Age and fatness, as reflected by age-adjusted body mass index, contributed significantly to both circumferences and to the WHR. There was a significant effect of ethnicity on hip circumference but not on waist circumference or the WHR. These results confirm that pubertal stage exerts a significant effect on the hip circumference and WHR in female adolescents, even after the effects of fatness and age are controlled. Studies of body fat distribution during late childhood and adolescence should include assessments of pubertal maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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