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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Feb;69(2):308-17.

Relation of circumferences and skinfold thicknesses to lipid and insulin concentrations in children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study.

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Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341-3717, USA.



Although body fat patterning has been related to adverse health outcomes in adults, its importance in children and adolescents is less certain.


We examined the relation of circumference (waist and hip) and skinfold-thickness (subscapular and triceps) measurements to lipid and insulin concentrations among 2996 children and adolescents aged 5-17 y.


This was a community-based, cross-sectional study conducted in 1992-1994.


A central or abdominal distribution of body fat was related to adverse concentrations of triacylglycerol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and insulin; these associations were independent of race, sex, age, weight, and height. These associations were observed whether fat patterning was characterized by using 1) waist circumference alone (after adjustment for weight and height), 2) waist-to-hip ratio, or 3) principal components analysis. Compared with a child at the 10th percentile of waist circumference, a child at the 90th percentile was estimated to have, on average, higher concentrations of LDL cholesterol (0.17 mmol/L), triacylglycerol (0.11 mmol/L), and insulin (6 pmol/L) and lower concentrations of HDL cholesterol (-0.07 mmol/L). These differences, which were independent of weight and height, were significant at the 0.001 level and were consistent across race-sex groups.


These findings emphasize the importance of obtaining information on body fat distribution, waist circumference in particular, in children. Waist circumference, which is relatively easy to measure, may help to identify children likely to have adverse concentrations of lipids and insulin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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