The Association between Excess Weight and Body Composition Measurements in a Pediatric Population

Author(s): Eirini Kostopoulou, Aikaterini Avgeri, Spyridon Skiadopoulos, Gabriel Dimitriou, Ioannis Giannakopoulos

Background: The prevalence of childhood obesity in Greece is among the highest in Europe. Body composition may be used as a screening tool to identify children with excess weight and those at risk for developing metabolic complications. The aim of the study was to provide data on body composition indices from a large Greek pediatric population and investigate the possible association between these indices and obesity.

Methods: 1453 schoolchildren, 51.2% males, aged 10-12 years old, were recruited from the third in size city in Greece. Anthropometric and body composition indices (weight, height, body mass index (BMI), fat mass (FM), FM%, fat mass index (FMI), skeletal muscle mass (SMM), SMM%, skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) and muscle-to-fat ratio (MFR)), were assessed.

Results: i) The rates of overweight and obesity were 25.9% (Males: 24.4%, females: 27.5%) and 12.6% (males: 13.4%, females: 11.7%), respectively. ii) Males had significantly higher SMM, SMM% and MFR, and lower FM% compared to females. iii) No differences were observed in body composition between younger (10-11-year-old) and older (11-12-year-old) children. iv) Higher FM, FM%, FMI, SMM, SMI and lower SMM% and MFR values were found in children with overweight or obesity.

Conclusion: A direct association between excess weight and body composition measurements, such as FM, FM%, FMI, SMM, SMM%, SMI and MFR, was found in a large pediatric school-population. These body composition analysis measurements may potentially serve as a useful screening-tool with both research and clinical applications in assessing obesity, but also for predicting obesity-related complications.

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