First body fat percentiles for 607 children from Thessaloniki-Northern Greece

Hippokratia 2010; 14(3):208-211

D. Papandreou, P. Malindretos, I. Rousso


Background and Aim: The purpose of this study was to establish for the first time reference curves for body fat levels in a Greek pediatric population aged 7-15y.
Methods: Six hundred and seven (607) children randomly selected from 8 primary and secondary schools from Northern Greece. Percentage body fat was measured by bioelectrical impedance analysis and percentile curves were constructed using the LMS method. All children were measured twice in the morning and the mean number of the two measurements was considered as the percentage of body fat.
Results: The mean number of the percentage body fat for the age group (7-9) was 18.2 ? 5.1 and 18.4 ? 6.1 for boys and girls, respectively. In the second age group (10-12) the girls had higher mean fat levels than boys (22.6 ? 5.8 vs. 20.4 ? 6.2). This increase was continued also in the third age group (13-15) with the girls having higher mean body fat levels (24.2 ? 5.5 vs. 17 ? 5.9). The 85th and 95th percentiles represented the cut-off point for overweight and obesity and it was (26.3, 33.0 and 28.9%) and (34.0, 38.2 and 38.1) for boys for the three age groups (7-9, 10-12 and 13-15), respectively. On the other hand, the girls had higher 85th and 95th percentiles for the same age group (7-9, 10-12, 13-15y) and it was (34.5, 32.9 and 33.6%) and (39.0, 370 and 38.3%), respectively.
Conclusion: Body fat level, which is the component of overweight that leads to pathology, is a better representative over body mass index. These first percentile curves will be at great assistance helping the medical community to identify obesity in these children at early stages and to prevent development at pathological diseases early in their lives.