Reference Centile Curves for Body Fat Percentage, Fat-free Mass, Muscle Mass and Bone Mass Measured by Bioelectrical Impedance in Asian Indian Children and Adolescents

Indian Pediatr. 2017 Dec 15;54(12):1005-1011. doi: 10.1007/s13312-017-1201-4. Epub 2017 Sep 26.


Objective: To create gender-specific percentile curves for percent body fat (%BF) by Bio electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) for screening adiposity and risk of hypertension in Indian children and generate reference curves for percent fat-free mass (%FFM), muscle mass (%LM) and bone mineral content (BMC) by using bioelectrical impedance.

Design: Secondary analysis of data from previous multicenter cross-sectional studies.

Setting: Private schools from five regions of India.

Participants: A random sample of 3850 healthy school children (2067 boys) (5-17 yr) from private schools in five major Indian cities.

Methods: Anthropometry, blood pressure (BP) and body composition were measured by bioelectrical impedance. Reference curves were generated by the LMS method.

Main outcome measures: %BF, %FFM, %LM, BMC and BP.

Results: Median %BF increased by 6% from 5 to 13 years of age and declined (around 2%) up to 17 years in boys. In girls, %BF increased by 8% from 5 to 14 years and thereafter declined by 3%. Based upon the risk of hypertension, the new cut-offs of 75th and 85th percentile of %BF were proposed for detecting over fatness and excess fatness in children. Median %FFM was 90% at 5 yrs and decreased till 12 years, and then showed a slight increase to 84% at 17 yrs in boys. In girls, it was 86% at 5 yrs and decreased till 15 yrs, and plateaued at 71.8% at 17 yrs.

Conclusions: Reference curves for percent body fat for Indian children would be useful to screen children for health risk in clinical set up.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Physical Examination / standards
  • Reference Values
  • Students / statistics & numerical data