A scoping review of school-based anthropometric measurement

Obes Rev. 2023 Nov;24(11):e13610. doi: 10.1111/obr.13610. Epub 2023 Aug 31.


Though anthropometric measurement (AM) frequently occurs in school settings, it is not without risks to child wellbeing. The aim of this scoping review was to examine how AM in school settings takes place and is reported on to make recommendations on best practices. We identified and extracted data from 440 studies published since 2005 that conducted AM in school (pre-school through secondary/high school) settings. Privacy and sensitivity of AM were unclear in over 90% of studies. Thirty-one studies (7.0%) reported protecting student privacy, while nine (2.0%) reported public measurement. Only five studies reported sensitivity regarding AM (1.1%). Exactly who conducted AM was not specified in 201 studies (45.7%). Sixty-nine studies did not provide a weight status criteria citation (19.2%), and 10 used an incorrect citation (2.7%). In summary, serious shortcomings in the reporting of how AM is conducted and by whom, along with details concerning weight status classification, are evident. There is considerable room for improvement regarding the reporting of key methodological details. We propose best practices for AM in school settings, which also double as conditions that should be met before AM takes place in school settings.

Keywords: adolescents; children; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review