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Adv Nutr. 2017 Sep 15;8(5):718-727. doi: 10.3945/an.117.015446. Print 2017 Sep.

Anthropometric Indicators as Body Fat Discriminators in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

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  • 1Federal University of Santa Catarina, Research Center in Kinanthropometry and Human Performance, Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
  • 2Department of Nutrition, Graduate Program in Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.


We analyzed the discriminatory capacity of anthropometric indicators for body fat in children and adolescents. This systematic review and meta-analysis included cross-sectional and clinical studies comprising children and adolescents aged 2-19 y that tested the discriminatory value for body fat measured by anthropometric methods or indexes generated by anthropometric variables compared with precision methods in the diagnosis of body fat [dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), computed tomography, air displacement plethysmography (ADP), or MRI]. Five studies met the eligibility criteria and presented high methodologic quality. The anthropometric indicators that had high discriminatory power to identify high body fat were body mass index (BMI) in males [area under the curve (AUC): 0.975] and females (AUC: 0.947), waist circumference (WC) in males (AUC: 0.975) and females (AUC: 0.959), and the waist-to-height ratio (WTHR) in males (AUC: 0.897) and females (AUC: 0.914). BMI, WC, and WTHR can be used by health professionals to assess body fat in children and adolescents.


HIV; adolescents; anthropometry; body composition; children

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