Objective: To predict the percent body fat (%BF) cutoff values corresponding to overweight and obesity recommended by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) in Korean children and to compare those values with the published cutoff values in Caucasian children.
Research methods and procedures: The sample consisted of 1083 Korean children and adolescents (555 boys and 528 girls) aged 7-18 years from 3 schools. Body mass index (BMI) and %BF using a bioelectrical impedance analyzer were measured. The classification of overweight and obesity was based on the age- and sex-specific BMI cutoff values of the IOTF guidelines.
Results: The predicted %BF cutoff values for overweight and obesity varied by age and sex: overweight, 17-22% in boys and 24-37% in girls; obesity, 24-30% in boys and 30-53% in girls. Those %BF cutoff values in older Korean boys tended to be lower than the published %BF cutoff values in Caucasian boys. While %BF cutoff values for overweight in Korean girls were similar to the values in Caucasian girls, %BF cutoff values for obesity in Korean girls aged 13-18 years were higher compared to cutoff values in Caucasian girls.
Conclusion: The %BF values associated with the IOTF-recommended BMI cutoff values for overweight and obesity may require age- and sex-specific cutoff values in Korean children aged 7-18 years.