The relationship between skinfold thickness and body mass index in North European Caucasian and East Asian women with anorexia nervosa: implications for diagnosis and management

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2009 Jan;17(1):31-9. doi: 10.1002/erv.893.

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the relationship between skinfold thickness and body mass index (BMI) in North European Caucasian and East Asian young women with and without anorexia nervosa (AN) in two countries.

Method: Height, weight and skinfold thicknesses were assessed in 137 young women with and without AN, in Australia and Singapore. The relationship between BMI and the sum of triceps, biceps, subscapular and iliac crest skinfolds was analysed with clinical status, ethnicity, age and country of residence as covariates.

Results: For the same BMI, women with AN had significantly smaller sums of skinfolds than women without AN. East Asian women both with and without AN had significantly greater skinfold sums than their North European Caucasian counterparts after adjusting for BMI.

Conclusion: Lower BMI goals may be appropriate when managing AN patients of East Asian ancestry and the weight for height diagnostic criterion should be reconsidered for this group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Asians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Europe
  • Existentialism
  • Far East
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personality Inventory
  • Reference Values
  • Skinfold Thickness*
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult