Waist circumference for the screening of the metabolic syndrome in children

Acta Paediatr. 2002;91(12):1307-12. doi: 10.1080/08035250216112.


Aim: To identify the best anthropometric predictor of the metabolic syndrome in children.

Methods: Screening performance was evaluated in a clinical setting. The study included 140 children: 72 non-obese and 68 with non-syndromal obesity. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and triceps/subscapular skinfolds ratio were used as predictor variables, and systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, glucose, uric acid, fasting insulin, triglycerides and HDL-C as metabolic syndrome variables.

Results: The areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were 0.849 (95% CI: 0.780, 0.919) for BMI, 0.868 (95% CI: 0.801,0.934) for waist circumference and 0.834 (95% CI: 0.757,0.910) for the triceps/subscapular skinfolds ratio. No statistically significant differences were found for the three areas under the ROC curves. The point on the ROC curve closest to 1 corresponded to the 65th percentile for BMI, to the 70th percentile for waist, and to the 40th percentile for the triceps/subscapular skinfolds ratio.

Conclusion: Waist circumference seems to be the best predictor of children with the metabolic syndrome in paediatric clinical settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Constitution*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity