Background: Indians are suspected to have higher body fat percent at a given body mass index (BMI) than their western counterparts.
Objective: To estimate percent body fat in apparently healthy Indian children and adolescents by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and explore linkages of BMI with body fat percent for better health risk assessment.
Methods: Age, weight, height of 316 boys and 250 girls (6–17 years) were recorded. Body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). High adiposity was defined as body fat percent (BF%) > McCarthy’s 85th percentile of body fat reference data. Receiver operating characteristic analysis (ROC) was carried out for CDC BMI Z score for it’s ability to judge excess fatness.
Results: High BF% was seen in 38.5% boys and 54.0% girls (p < 0.05). Percentage of obese children as defined by the BMI cutoffs of International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) (2.1% for boys and 6.9% for girls) was lower than that using Indian (13.7% for boys and 20.9% for girls) and CDC (14.1% for boys and 20.9% for girls) cutoffs. The point closest to one on the ROC curves of CDC BMI Z-scores indicated high adiposity at BMI cutoff of 22 at the age of 17 yr in both the genders.
Conclusions: Higher body fat percentage is associated with lower BMI values in Indian children.
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