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|2005 ||Wickramasinghe, V. P., Cleghorn, G. J., Edmiston, K. A., Murphy, A. J., Abbott, R. A. and Davies, P. S. W. (2005) Validity of BMI as a measure of obesity in Australian white Caucasian and Australian Sri lankan children. Annals of Human Biology, 32 1: 60-71.|
Background: Body mass index ( BMI) is used to diagnose obesity. However, its ability to predict the percentage fat mass (% FM) reliably is doubtful. Therefore validity of BMI as a diagnostic tool of obesity is questioned. Aim: This study is focused on determining the ability of BMI- based cut- off values in diagnosing obesity among Australian children of white Caucasian and Sri Lankan origin. Subjects and methods: Height and weight was measured and BMI ( W/H-2) calculated. Total body water was determined by deuterium dilution technique and fat free mass and hence fat mass derived using age- and gender- specific constants. A % FM of 30% for girls and 20% for boys was considered as the criterion cut- off level for obesity. BMI- based obesity cut- offs described by the International Obesity Task Force ( IOTF), CDC/ NCHS centile charts and BMI- Z were validated against the criterion method. Results: There were 96 white Caucasian and 42 Sri Lankan children. Of the white Caucasians, 19 ( 36%) girls and 29 ( 66%) boys, and of the Sri Lankans 7 ( 46%) girls and 16 ( 63%) boys, were obese based on % FM. The FM and BMI were closely associated in both Caucasians ( r = 0.81, P < 0.001) and Sri Lankans ( r = 0.92, P< 0.001). Percentage FM and BMI also had a lower but significant association. Obesity cut- off values recommended by IOTF failed to detect a single case of obesity in either group. However, NCHS and BMI- Z cut- offs detected cases of obesity with low sensitivity. Conclusions: BMI is a poor indicator of percentage fat and the commonly used cut- off values were not sensitive enough to detect cases of childhood obesity in this study. In order to improve the diagnosis of obesity, either BMI cut- off values should be revised to increase the sensitivity or the possibility of using other indirect methods of estimating the % FM should be explored.
| Dr Alexia Murphy, Dr Rebecca Abbott, Professor Geoffrey Cleghorn, Professor Peter Davies|
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|Links: ||Journal web site|
|Keywords: ||Body Mass Index, Obesity, Children, Biology, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, Body-mass Index, Ethnic-groups, Define Overweight, Fatness, Fat, Adolescents, Prediction, Revisions, Cutoffs, Water|