Nawab Tabassum, Khan Zulfia, Khan Iqbal M, Ansari Mohammed A.


Introduction: Central obesity, a state of excessive accumulation of central subcutaneous and visceral fat, is as an important predictor for cardiovascular and metabolic risks in children and adolescents. Waist circumference (WC) is a simple, yet effective, surrogate measure of abdominal obesity.  Central obesity is increasing but not many studies have been done in adolescents in India.

Objectives: To study the prevalence of central obesity in school going adolescents and to compare median values (50th percentile) of the waist circumference of study group with that of some other adolescent reference populations.

Methodology: A cross-sectional study was done among 660 adolescents in two affluent and two non-affluent schools in Aligarh (north India) using systematic random sampling. Anthropometric measurement of waist circumference was taken. Central obesity was defined as >90th percentile for age and sex, using British children WC Charts.  Statistical analysis was done using IBM SPSS 20.0. Chi square test applied.

Results: The mean value of WC was 69.19 ± 11.48 cm. Overall prevalence of central obesity was found to be 28.5% (CI: 25.2-32.0). The prevalence was significantly higher among boys than in girls (24.7% versus 33.6%) and in the affluent schools than in the non-affluent schools (38.8% versus 18.2%). The 50th percentile of waist circumference of the study population was found to be higher than that of the reference UK adolescent population and Hong Kong adolescents, but lesser than that of adolescents of Kuwait, among both boys and girls. It was also found to be similar to adolescents of Turkey among boys, but higher than those of girls.

Conclusion & recommendations: The alarming problem of central obesity in school going adolescents must be addressed urgently. There’s dire need to develop Indian national reference standards for waist circumference to gauge the actual magnitude of the problem and guide primary physicians/pediatricians in screening central obesity in adolescents.


central obesity, waist circumference, adolescents

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