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Gulhane Med J. 2011; 53(3): 170-176

Can waist circumference clinically be useful as a predictor of obesity/underweight in children?

Ruhužen Kutlu, Selma Ēivi, Onur Karaošlu.

Waist circumference is accepted as a better index of nutrition-related health risks. In this study we aimed to evaluate whether the measurement of waist circumference may clinically be useful as a predictor of obesity/ underweight in children or not. This descriptive and cross-sectional study was carried out on 2572 children selected by the cluster sampling method from 178 primary and high schools in Konya. Height, weight, hip and waist circumference were measured in all the cases. The differences of waist circumference according to age and gender were compared to Body Mass Index specific to age and gender. The mean value of waist circumference in boys was statistically greater than that of girls at the ages of 8, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18. Body Mass Index was statistically greater in boys than girls in the age group of 18 (p=0.037). Obesity prevalence was 7.7% in 8-yearold girl students and 5.3% in 9- and 14-year-old boy students. Prevalence of being overweight was 10.9% in 13-year-old girl students and 11.5% in 8 year-old boy students. Prevalence of being underweight was 17.9% in 18-year-old girl students and 20.0% in 7-year-old boy students. Waist circumference measurement is a very cheap, simple, easy and non-invasive method. Therefore, child nutrition can be closely monitored by measurement of waist circumference.

Key words: Body mass index, nutrition, obesity, underweight, waist circumference

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