Nav: Home

Screening using body mass index alone may miss every second preschooler with excess stomach fat

September 25, 2018

When assessing whether preschoolers are overweight, health professionals should use other measures such as waist-to-height ratio in addition to the Body Mass Index (BMI). A study published in the Springer Nature-branded journal Pediatric Research shows that this is because measuring the BMI of younger children often fails to identify those with excess stomach fat and possible associated health problems. Lead author Annelie Lindholm of Halmstad University and the Research and Development Center Spenshult in Sweden says that adequate screening is important, given that people with excess stomach fat are known to have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and subsequent heart problems - even from a very young age onwards.

The number of overweight or obese children worldwide has increased significantly in past decades. According to a recent study, one in every ten children already suffers from metabolic syndrome, which has been traditionally only been found in adults. Metabolic syndrome is linked to being overweight (especially around the stomach area, which is referred to as abdominal adiposity), hypertension, being insulin resistant or glucose intolerant. Overall, being overweight increases a person's chances of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Worryingly, these risk factors are increasingly found in preschool children. There is therefore a need to identify at risk children so that they can make potentially life-saving lifestyle changes early on.

BMI is a screening tool that combines a person's weight and height. It has been criticized for not adequately screening people at risk of developing cardiometabolic disease and for not distinguishing between fat mass and fat free mass, or specific parts of the body where fat is located. Because abdominal adiposity is a common indication that someone might, in future, develop cardiovascular disease, measurements like the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) have been developed. This screening method incorporates a person's waist circumference together with his or her height.

In this study, Lindholm and her colleagues compared whether BMI or WHtR was better able to identify preschool children who had increased waist circumference in relation to their height. For this purpose, the researchers analyzed data from 1540 five-year old children who were part of the Swedish Halland Health and Growth Study. Their body measurements were taken at regular intervals, and factors that could influence their health and growth were noted as part of the initial study.

The researchers found that the BMI viewed 55 per cent of five-year olds who had a higher than normal waist-to-height ratio, and therefore carried more fat around their stomachs than children with normal WHtR, as being of normal weight.

"The BMI missed every second child who had a waist to height measurement greater than 0.5 by the age of five years old," says Lindholm. "Therefore, if only the BMI is used as a screening method, children who might need further investigation for cardiometabolic risk factors could be missed despite having an elevated waist-to-height ratio."

Lindholm explains that the measurements and calculations needed for WHtR are easily made and reproduced as well as being cost effective. "But since WHtR is not routinely used for screening children today, more research is needed specifically focusing on this age group before these findings can be implemented," she says.
-end-
Reference: Lindholm, A. et al (2018). Body mass index classification misses to identify children with an elevated waist-to-height ratio at five years of age, Pediatric Research DOI: 10.1038/s41390-018-0188-4

Springer

Related Metabolic Syndrome Articles:

Metabolic syndrome linked to worse outcomes for COVID-19 patients
Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had a combination of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes were over three times more likely to die from the disease, according to a new Tulane University study published in Diabetes Care.
New study finds that menopause increases risk of metabolic syndrome
Perimenopause is a time when women become more vulnerable to a number of health problems.
Does sarcoponic obesity link to metabolic syndrome? An issue that needs clarification
A systematic review and meta-analysis with the main scope to provide benchmark data on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (Mets) among individuals with Sarcopenic Obesity (SO), as well as to detect the potential association between the presence of SO and the higher risk of Mets.
Socioeconomics, metabolic syndrome, and osteopenia in postmenopausal women
The increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women has prompted multiple research studies to understand why.
Metabolic syndrome associated with increased risk of blood clot recurrence
People with metabolic syndrome -- a set of conditions including obesity, impaired glucose metabolism, elevated levels of fats and cholesterol in the blood, and high blood pressure - are more likely to experience recurrent blood clots, according to a new study published today in Blood Advances.
Hops compounds help with metabolic syndrome while reducing microbiome diversity
Compounds from hops may combat metabolic syndrome by changing the gut microbiome and altering the metabolism of acids produced in the liver, new research suggests.
Metabolic syndrome: New use for an old drug
The discovery, described in a study by Cosbi and Cimec of the University of Trento published today in Nature Communications, confirms the effectiveness of repurposing, the new frontier of pharmacological research.
Three easy measures to predict metabolic syndrome in elderly
A new study found a surprisingly high rate of metabolic syndrome among individuals aged 60-100 years.
Nanovaccine boosts immunity in sufferers of metabolic syndrome
A new class of biomaterial developed by Cornell researchers for an infectious disease nanovaccine effectively boosted immunity in mice with metabolic disorders linked to gut bacteria - a population that shows resistance to traditional flu and polio vaccines.
Natural sugar defends against metabolic syndrome, in mice
New research, in mice, indicates that a natural sugar called trehalose blocks glucose from the liver and activates a gene that boosts insulin sensitivity, reducing the chance of developing diabetes.
More Metabolic Syndrome News and Metabolic Syndrome Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.