JOURNAL ARTICLE

UAE population reference standard charts for body mass index and skinfold thickness, at ages 0-18 years

Yousef M Abdulrazzaq, Nico Nagelkerke, Mohamed A Moussa
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 2011, 62 (7): 692-702
21568821

AIMS: To determine a range of anthropometric measurements including skinfold thickness measurements in four different areas of the body, to construct population growth charts for body mass index (BMI), skinfolds, and to compare these with growth charts from other countries. One aim was also to validate body fat charts derived from skinfold thickness.

METHODS: A national cross-sectional growth survey of children, 0-18 years old, was conducted using multistage stratified random sampling. The sample size included at least 200 children in each age-sex group. Height, weight, biceps skinfold, triceps skinfold, subscapular skinfold, suprailiac skinfold, and mid-upper-arm circumference were measured in each child. We describe correlation, standard deviation scores relative to the other standards, and calculation of body density in the United Arab Emirates population. We determined whether any of the above is a good indicator of fatness in children.

RESULTS: BMI, upper-arm circumference, sum of four skinfolds, and percentage body fat charts were constructed using the LMS method of smoothing. BMI was very significantly correlated with sum of skinfold thicknesses, and mid-upper-arm circumference. Prevalence of obesity and overweight in ages 13-17 years was respectively 9.94% and 15.16% in females and 6.08% and 14.16% in males. Derived body fat charts were found not to be accurate.

CONCLUSION: A national BMI, upper-arm circumference, and sum of four skinfolds chart has been constructed that can be used as a reference standard for the United Arab Emirates. Sum of four skinfold thickness charts can be used as crude determinants of adiposity in children, but derived body fat charts were shown to be inaccurate.

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