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Body fat distribution of children and adolescents in Abeokuta, Southwest Nigeria


Correspondence to: Dr. Idowu O. Senbanjo, Paediatrics Gastroenterology/Hepatology/Nutrition Unit, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Lagos State University College of Medicine, PMB 21266, Ikeja, Lagos 100001, Nigeria. E-mail:


Excessive central fat in children and adolescents is a risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. This study aimed to compare the body fat distribution patterns of children and adolescents in Abeokuta, Nigeria with international reference standards. Five hundred seventy children aged 5 to 19 years were selected from seven schools using multistage random sampling. Weight, height, triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness (TSF, SSF), and circumference at the waist and hips (WC, HC) were measured. Body mass index (BMI), subscapular:triceps skinfold ratio (STR), waist:hip circumference ratio (WHR), and waist: height ratio (WHtR) were derived. Females had higher mean BMI, TSF, SSF, WC, HC, WHR, and WHtR, while males had significantly higher STR. The mean BMI, WC, TSF, and SSF values were lower for our subjects than for African-American subjects at all ages. On the other hand, in both sexes, STR was higher among Nigerian than African-American subjects up to 12 years old. Thereafter the values were similar. The mean WC was similar to those reported for African-American males up to 8 years, and females up to 7 years of age; thereafter, African-American had higher values. The prevalence of central obesity using WC and WHtR measures was 4.4% and 5.8%, respectively. There is a need to validate each index against serum lipid profiles and other cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. Am J Phys Anthropol 150:647–654, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.