The development of waist circumference percentiles in British children aged 5.0-16.9 y

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;55(10):902-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601240.


Objective: To develop waist circumference percentile curves for British children and to compare these curves with those from other countries.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: School-aged population.

Subjects: A representative sample of school children from the geographical regions of Great Britain, approximately in proportion to their age distribution. The sample population consisted of 8355 children (3585 males, 4770 females) with ages ranging between 5.0 and 16.9 y.

Interventions: Waist circumferences were measured with a flexible non-elastic tape and waist circumference percentiles were constructed and smoothed using the LMS method.

Main outcome measures: Smoothed waist circumference percentile curves.

Results: Mean waist circumference increased with age in both boys and girls. For girls, curves began to plateau after the age of 13 y whereas, for boys, waist percentile curves continued to increase more sharply after this age. However, these curves mainly reflect the patterns of waist circumference in Caucasian children.

Conclusions: These curves represent the first waist circumference percentiles for British children and could be used provisionally for both clinical and possibly epidemiological use, although they should be validated against equivalent longitudinal data.

Sponsorship: This project has been sponsored by UNL Diversity and Development Fund.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Constitution / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Characteristics