Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fat measure BMI underestimates body fat in UK South Asian children

Date:
November 17, 2010
Source:
University of St George's London
Summary:
South Asian children living in the UK have higher average levels of body fat than white European and black African Caribbean children in the UK. The findings show that body mass index (BMI), the most widely used tool to measure body composition, underestimated their body fat, and add to doubts about its use as a measure.

South Asian children living in the UK have higher average levels of body fat than white European and black African Caribbean children in the UK. The findings show that body mass index (BMI), the most widely used tool to measure body composition, underestimated their body fat, and add to doubts about its use as a measure.

These findings have been made by researchers at St George's, University of London, and published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers say they could aid the development of strategies to combat rising obesity and diabetes levels in the UK South Asian population.

The team used several methods to measure the body fat of 5,758 children from different ethnic groups aged nine and 10 years in London, Birmingham and Leicester. They measured skinfold thickness and bioimpedance -- a method for measuring body composition based on the electrical resistance of body tissues -- as well as BMI. Skinfold thickness and bioimpedance are more direct measures of body fat content than BMI.

South Asian children had higher average levels of skinfold thickness and fat mass -- measured by bioimpedance -- than white Europeans, by about five per cent and six per cent, respectively; levels in black African-Caribbeans were similar to or lower than those in white Europeans. However, these ethnic differences were not reflected by BMI differences -- average BMI was two per cent lower in South Asians and almost six percent higher in black African-Caribbeans compared with white Europeans.

"These findings will give policy makers a better understanding of the health problems facing ethnic minority groups. They suggest that preventing UK South Asian children becoming overweight is an important priority," said Claire Nightingale of the St George's Division of Population Health Sciences and Education, who led the research. "They also suggest that BMI can be misleading when comparing body fat patterns in children from different ethnic groups -- better measures are needed for making such comparisons."

Increased rates of overweight and obesity in children have been a major public health concern during the last two decades. However, few studies have provided accurate estimates of overall body fat patterns in UK children from different ethnic groups. Those studies which have been carried out used body mass index.

Body fat is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Increased levels of body fat among UK South Asian children is a particular concern because risks of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are high in that population. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly affecting younger people.

The results are from the Child Heart And Health Study in England (CHASE), which has been studying the health of British children aged nine and 10 years. The research was jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the National Prevention Research Initiative.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of St George's London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. M. Nightingale, A. R. Rudnicka, C. G. Owen, D. G. Cook, P. H. Whincup. Patterns of body size and adiposity among UK children of South Asian, black African-Caribbean and white European origin: Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE Study). International Journal of Epidemiology, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyq180

Cite This Page:

University of St George's London. "Fat measure BMI underestimates body fat in UK South Asian children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117113007.htm>.
University of St George's London. (2010, November 17). Fat measure BMI underestimates body fat in UK South Asian children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117113007.htm
University of St George's London. "Fat measure BMI underestimates body fat in UK South Asian children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117113007.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins