Waist circumference-to-height ratio and body mass index for obesity classification in Irish children

Journal article


Mitchell, Lachlan, Bel-Serrat, Silvia, Heinen, Mirjam, Mehegan, John, Murrin, Celine, O’Brien, Sarah, Stanley, Isobel and Kelleher, Cecily. (2021). Waist circumference-to-height ratio and body mass index for obesity classification in Irish children. Acta Paediatrica. 110(5), pp. 1541-1547. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15724
AuthorsMitchell, Lachlan, Bel-Serrat, Silvia, Heinen, Mirjam, Mehegan, John, Murrin, Celine, O’Brien, Sarah, Stanley, Isobel and Kelleher, Cecily
Abstract

Aim
Waist circumference-to-height ratio (WHt) has been proposed as an alternative measure to BMI due to its focus on central weight distribution and its basic threshold for increased cardiometabolic risk. This study aimed to compare prevalence of overweight including obesity using BMI and WHt, and assess 10-year trends of WHt prevalence, in a representative sample of Irish children.

Methods
Children measured during rounds 2–5 of the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (n = 20037) were classified as healthy weight or overweight including obesity (International Obesity Task Force age and sex BMI cut-offs), and low or high WHt (WHt ≥ 0.5). Differences in prevalence of BMI and WHt classifications were determined for round five in younger (<9 years) and older (≥9 years) children. The prevalence of high WHt was assessed across rounds.

Results
Differences in prevalence between overweight including obesity and high WHt were apparent in younger (BMI: 16.7%, WHt: 8.9%; p < .001) and older (BMI: 21.3%, WHt: 12.1%; p < .001) children. An inverse trend for prevalence of high WHt was identified across rounds (p < .001).

Conclusion
BMI overestimates overweight including obesity prevalence compared to WHt. Given its ease of use, consideration of the WHt as an additional measure in childhood surveillance and screening is warranted.

Keywordscardiometabolic risk; central adiposity; childhood obesity; childhood obesity surveillance initiative
Year2021
JournalActa Paediatrica
Journal citation110 (5), pp. 1541-1547
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN0803-5253
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15724
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85098008403
Page range1541-1547
FunderHealth Service Executive, Ireland
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 Dec 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Dec 2020
Deposited28 Nov 2022
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