Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is perhaps the most common anthropometric measure used to predict relative overweight. However, the value of the measurement in children and adolescents is regularly questioned. The natural course of growth and maturation in children, plus the individual variability during the same period mean that indices of weight-for-height, including the BMI (W/H2) are not very good indices of adiposity. In children younger than 15 years of age, BMI is not totally independent of height and thus should be used with caution. Both Schey et al. and Michielutte et al. examined the value of various

Hills/Lyell/Byrne 8weight-for-height indices and found that BMI was the most useful. However, in paediatric populations there is a correlation with height that is not oted in adult populations. BMI was found to correlate less strongly with the triceps skinfold measure at younger ages. Both papers concluded by suggesting that practitioners be cautious in using BMI as a measure of adiposity in children and that, if possible,multiple criteria should be used in assessing bodycomposition.Deurenberg et al. stated that BMI could accurately predict body fat percentage using equations however the SEE in children was 4.4%BF which is above the cut-off (3–4%BF) proposed by Reilly to indicate acceptable accuracy. This finding indicates that BMI is useful as a classifying tool in epidemiological studies, but, however, has limited use in body composition assessment.

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