Background: Reference values for the main indices of body fat distribution in children are not available.
Methods: The study population comprised 1638 Caucasian children and adolescents: 848 boys and 790 girls, with ages ranging from 4.0 to 14.9 years, and living in the central part of Spain (Provincia de Zaragoza). The waist-to-hip circumference ratio and the triceps-to-subscapular skinfold thickness ratio were measured.
Results: In boys, mean waist-to-hip circumference ratio ranges from 0.834, at 13.5 years, to 0.896 at 4.5 years. In girls, waist-to-hip circumference ratio ranges from 0.756, at 14.5 years, to 0.877, at 4.5 years. We observed a decrease of waist-to-hip circumference ratio with age, especially in girls. In boys, triceps-to-subscapular skinfold thickness ratio ranges from 1.360, at age 14.5, to 1.704, at age 5.5. In girls, triceps-to-subscapular skinfold thickness ratio ranges from 1.468, at age 13.5, to 1.727, at age 9.5. We observed a decrease with age only in boys.
Conclusions: We present reference values for the main indices of body fat distribution, which could be useful in clinical practice. However, research is needed that will compare these indices with data on body fat distribution obtained by a gold standard method, such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.