Methods of assessing body fatness among children: Implications for the National Child Measurement Programme

Sharon Wheeler, Craig Twist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Body mass index (BMI) is increasingly recognized as an inadequate measure for determining obesity in children. Therefore, the aim within this study was to investigate other indirect methods of body fat assessment that could potentially be used in place of BMI. Twenty-four children (boys: 13.8 0.8 yr; girls: 13.3 0.5 yr) participated in this study. Measurements of BMI and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were obtained, along with percentage body fat (%BF) from skinfolds (SKF), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) (arm-to-arm, leg-to-leg, arm-to-leg) and air displacement plethysmography (ADP). BMI was correlated with %BF from ADP (r ¼ 0.45, p < 0.05), while WHR was not (r ¼ 0.21, p > 0.05). %BF from the SKF method and all BIA methods demonstrated a significant relationship with ADP %BF (p < 0.05). The 95% limits of agreement (LoA) indicated that individual prediction errors between all BIA methods and ADP were large, while the SKF method showed strong agreement with ADP. The results of this study provide further evidence that the predictive accuracy of indirect methods for determining body fatness varies considerably with children. The findings are discussed in relation to the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), which is currently operating in primary schools in England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-93
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number1
Early online date9 Nov 2010
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2010


  • Body Fat
  • Body Mass Index
  • National Child Measurement Programme


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