Is body fat distribution associated with cardiovascular risk factors in childhood?

H. Sangi*, W. H. Mueller, R. B. Harrist, B. Rodriguez, J. G. Grunbaum, D. R. Labarthe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The authors studied the association of cardiovascular risk variables with body fat distribution (BFD) in a cross-sectional sample of 743 Texas schoolchildren of both sexes ages 6-14 years. This association is well known in adults and several useful indices of BFD are available. Whether they are applicable to children remains a question of importance for epidemiological investigations in this age group. Canonical correlations between anthropometric (five skinfolds, four circumferences) and risk (blood pressures, cholesterol, pulse) variables ranged from 0·37 to 0·82 depending on sex/age group (p < 0·01). The skinfold vector suggested an association of risk with central fat at most but not all ages. The circumference vectors, on the other hand, suggest that size or fatness, not BFD, was related to risk. Partial correlation and stepwise regression of fatness and BFD indices with cardiovascular risk factors as dependent variables, showed that 'fatness' or 'size' was more clearly associated with risk factors than BFD. The variables most consistently entering the regression were hip circumference and sum of skinfolds. These results contrast with studies of adults or sexually mature adolescents, in which BFD is more clearly related to CV risk variables and the hip circumference is a 'low-risk' variable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-578
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Physiology
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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