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Waist-to-Height Ratio Detects Fat Obesity in Children and Adolescents Significantly Better than BMI

The study was conducted in collaboration between the University of Bristol in the UK, the University of Exeter in the UK, and the University of Eastern Finland, and the results were published in Pediatric Research.

Emerging studies in adults appear to suggest that waist circumference-to-height ratio predicts premature death better than body mass index (BMI) and could be a potential added tool to BMI measure in improving the diagnosis of obesity.

“This study provides novel information that would be useful in updating future childhood obesity guidelines and policy statements. The average waist circumference-to-height ratio in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood is 0.45, it does not vary with age and among individuals like BMI. Waist circumference-to-height ratio might be preferable to BMI assessment in children and adolescent clinics as an inexpensive tool for detecting excess fat. Parents should not be discouraged by the BMI or weight of their children, but can inexpensively confirm whether the weight is due to increase in excess fat by examining their [child’s] waist circumference-to-height ratio,” says Andrew Agbaje, an award-winning physician and paediatric clinical epidemiologist at the University of Eastern Finland.


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