Reference Ranges for Skinfold Thicknesses in Nigerian Children and Adolescents Aged 3 – 19 years
Skinfold measurements have long been considered as a valid anthropometric indicator of subcutaneous fat. Nonetheless, percentile ranges for population-based skinfold thicknesses for Nigerian children and adolescents are not available. The present study developed new age- and sex-specific percentile reference curves for biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfold thicknesses in a representative sample of healthy Nigerian children and adolescents. The sample comprised 3,413 boys and 3,496 girls aged 3 – 19 years, randomly selected from rural and urban communities in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The LMS method was used to fit percentile curves for biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfold thicknesses and the LMS parameters were generated for calculating standardized Z-scores. Subjects were classified as being underweight or having normal weight based on their BMI values using the WHO 2007 reference. The new reference percentile ranges for biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfold established age- and sex-specific of subcutaneous fat distribution. Comparison of centile curves of the underweight and normal weight children indicate higher subcutaneous adiposity in subjects with normal weight than the underweight. The present study has for the first time presented age- and sex-specific skinfold percentiles and parameters for calculating standardized Z-scores of Nigerian children and adolescents. The tabulated percentiles and Z-scores can be useful indicator of subcutaneous fat and local reference for anthropological studies.
Key Words: Skinfold, percentile curve, Z-scores, underweight, children