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Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011 Jun;6(2-2):e78-86. doi: 10.3109/17477166.2010.490266. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Parental reported compared with measured waist circumference in 8-year-old children.

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Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Most epidemiological, questionnaire-based studies collect data on body weight and height but not on waist circumference (WC), although WC is suggested to be clinically more relevant. It is unknown whether valid WC data of school-aged children can be obtained by questionnaires. In this study the agreement between parental reported and measured WC in 8-year-old children was investigated and compared with the agreement between parental reported and measured body mass index (BMI).


Data on body weight, height, and WC of 1 292 8-year-old Dutch children were collected by a medical examination and a questionnaire. Mean differences, correlations and misclassification based on parental reported values were calculated.


Mean differences between parental reported and measured values were small. Pearson correlation coefficient for measured and reported WC was 0.83 compared with 0.90 for measured and reported BMI. Parents of children with a high BMI tended to underreport their child's WC and body weight. A total of 22.7% of overweight children were misclassified as being normal weight based on reported WC compared with measured WC. For BMI this applied to 23.7% of children.


Parental reported waist circumference corresponded well with measured values, indicating that reported waist circumference can be used to study associations between waist circumference and risk factors or health outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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