Association between body mass index and body fat in 9–11-year-old children from countries spanning a range of human development
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The purpose was to assess associations between body mass index (BMI) and body fat in a multinational sample of 9–11-year-old children. The sample included 7265 children from countries ranging in human development. Total body fat (TBF) and percentage body fat (PBF) were measured with a Tanita SC-240 scale and BMI z-scores (BMIz) and percentiles were computed using reference data from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respectively. Mean PBF at BMIz values of − 1, 0 and +1 were estimated using multilevel models. Correlations between BMI and TBF were 40.90 in all countries, and correlations between BMI and PBF ranged from 0.76 to 0.96. Boys from India had higher PBF than boys from several other countries at all levels of BMIz. Kenyan girls had lower levels of PBF than girls from several other countries at all levels of BMIz. Boys and girls from Colombia had higher values of PBF at BMIz = − 1, whereas Colombian boys at BMIz 0 and +1 also had higher values of PBF than boys in other countries. Our results show a consistently high correlation between BMI and adiposity in children from countries representing a wide range of human development.