Patterns of Body Mass Index, Percentage Body Fat, and Skinfold Thicknesses in 7‑ to 18‑Year‑Old Children and Adolescents from Indonesia

Janatin Hastuti, Neni Trilusiana Rahmawati, Rusyad Adi Suriyanto, Tunjung Wibowo, Neti Nurani, Madarina Julia


Background: Body mass index (BMI) and skinfold thickness are widely used to evaluate body
composition. Information on patterns of skinfold thickness may help to understand changes in body
composition during growth. The objectives of this study were to observe patterns of BMI, percentage
body fat (%BF), and skinfold thicknesses of Indonesian children and adolescents aged 7–18 years.

Methods: Weight, height, and four skinfold thicknesses were measured in 2104 school children (924
boys, 1,180 girls) aged 7–18 years from Yogyakarta between 2015 and 2018. BMI and ratios between
central and peripheral skinfold thicknesses were determined. %BF was predicted using the equation
of Slaughter et al. Data were analyzed using analysis variance (ANOVA), independent sample
t‑test, and partial correlation (SPSS version 20.0).

Results: At 7–18 years, boys and girls showed
a comparable gain in BMI. The comparable gain in %BF between boys and girls only occurred
till age 10 and total skinfolds till age 11 years. While, %BF and skinfold thicknesses were higher
in girls at 12–17 years, central to peripheral skinfold ratio were higher in boys. Partial correlation
analyses showed that all skinfold thickness parameters and %BF were significantly correlated with
BMI (P < 0.001; r = 0.19–0.87).

Conclusions: The gain in BMI and skinfold thickness between the
ages of 7 and 18 years occurred in age‑ and sex‑specific patterns. Instead of comparable BMI, girls
showed higher means of total skinfold thickness from age 12 years, while boys had higher central to
peripheral adiposity ratio.



Body mass index; children; growth patterns; percentage body fat; skinfold thickness

Full Text:



Lee EY, Yoon KH. Epidemic obesity in children and adolescents:

Risk factors and prevention. Front Med 2018;12:658‑66.

Nehus E, Mitsnefes M. Childhood obesity and the metabolic

syndrome. Pediatr Clin North Am 2019;66:31‑43.

Saddam AC, Foster HM, Zhang M, Mosby TT. The effect of

gender and race on body mass index and percent body fat in

young adults. Nutrition 2019;63‑64:9‑13.

Regecová V, Hamade J, Janechová H, Ševčíková Ľ. Comparison

of Slovak reference values for anthropometric parameters in

children and adolescents with international growth standards:

Implications for the assessment of overweight and obesity. Croat

Med J 2018;59:313‑26.

Freedman DS, Ogden CL, Kit BK. Interrelationships between

BMI, skinfold thicknesses, percent body fat, and cardiovascular

disease risk factors among U.S. children and adolescents. BMC

Pediatr 2015;15:188.

Tinggaard J, Hagen CP, Christensen AN, Mouritsen A,

Mieritz MG, Wohlfahrt‑Veje C, et al. Anthropometry, DXA,

and leptin reflect subcutaneous but not visceral abdominal

adipose tissue on MRI in 197 healthy adolescents. Pediatr Res


Yang Y, Zhu W, Wang SR. Shifting patterns of BMI and skinfold

fatness among US children: 1985/87 vs. 2012. Epidemiol Biostat

Public Health 2016;13:e12067‑1‑e‑11.

Wohlfahrt‑veje C, Tinggaard J, Winther K, Mouritsen A,

Hagen CP, Mieritz MG, et al. Body fat throughout childhood

in 2647 healthy Danish children: Agreement of BMI, waist

circumference, skinfolds with dual X‑ray absorptiometry. Eur J

Clin Nutr 2014;68:664‑70.

de Quadros TMB, Gordia AP, Andaki ACR, Mendes EL, Mota J,

Silva LR. Utility of anthropometric indicators to screen for

clustered cardiometabolic risk factors in children and adolescents.

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2019;32:49‑55.

Zhang YX, Zhou JY, Zhao JS, Chu ZH. Urban‑rural and regional

disparities in the prevalence of elevated blood pressure among

children and adolescents in Shandong, China. Int J Cardiol


Zhang YX, Wang SR, Zhao JS, Chu ZH. Truncal pattern of

subcutaneous fat distribution is associated with obesity and

elevated blood pressure among children and adolescents. Blood

Press 2018;27:25‑31.

Wang Z, Yuan D, Duan Y, Li S, Hou S. Key factors involved in

obesity development. Eat Weight Disord 2017;23:267‑74.

Kuhle S, Ashley‑Martin J, Maguire B, Hamilton DC. Percentile

curves for skinfold thickness for Canadian children and youth.

Peer J 2016;4:e2247‑e.

Abdulrazzaq YM, Nagelkerke N, Moussa MA. UAE

population reference standard charts for body mass index and

skinfold thickness, at ages 0‑18 years. Int J Food Sci Nutr


Marfell‑Jones M, Olds T, Stewart A, Carter L. International

Standards for Anthropometric Assessment. Canberra, International

Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry; 2006.

Slaughter MH, Lohman TG, Boileau RA, Horswill CA,

Stillman RJ, Van Loan MD, et al. Skinfold equations for

estimation of body fatness in children and youth. Hum Biol


Brannsether B, Roelants M, Bjerknes R, Júlíusson PB. References

and cutoffs for triceps and subscapular skinfolds in Norwegian

children 4‑16 years of age. Eur Clin Nutr 2013;67:928‑33.

Javed A, Jumean M, Murad MH, Okorodudu D, Kumar S,

Somers VK, et al. Diagnostic performance of body mass index

to identify obesity as defined by body adiposity in children and

adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatr

Obes 2015;10:234‑44.

Zacharin M, Banerjee I, Patel L. Puberty: Normal and abnormal.

In: , itor Practical Pediatric Endocrinology in a Limited Resource

Setting. San Diego, USA: Academic Press; 2013. pp. 27‑67.

Bratke H, Bruserud IS, Brannsether B, Assmus J, Bjerknes R,

Roelants M, et al. Timing of menarche in Norwegian girls:

Associations with body mass index, waist circumference and

skinfold thickness. BMC Pediatr 2017;17:138.

Ather U, Gul F, Saleem A, Saleem M, Saleem U, Shirwany TA.

Relationship of body mass index with pubertal stages and

age at menarche in Pakistani girls. Pak J Med Health Sci


Hozoori M, Moradi F, Hosseini‑Zade Z, Kazemian M,

Arsang‑Jang S. Age at menarche and its relationship to

anthropometric indices in adolescent girls. Int J Pediatr


Solorzano CMB, McCartney CR. Obesity and the pubertal

transition in girls and boys. Reproduction 2010;140:399‑410.

Guo X, Ji C. Earlier menarche can be an indicator of more body

fat: Study of sexual development and waist circumference in

Chinese girls. Biomed Environ Sci 2011;24:451‑8.

Cheng G, Bolzenius K, Joslowski G, Günther ALB, Kroke A,

Heinrich J, et al. Velocities of weight, height and fat mass gain

during potentially critical periods of growth are decisive for

adult body composition. Eur J Clin Nutr 2015;69:262‑26.

Gates MA, Mekary RA, Chiu GR, Ding EL, Wittert GA,

Araujo AB. Sex steroid hormone levels and body composition in

men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2013;98:2442‑50.

Kelishadi R, Mirmoghtadaee P, Najafi H, Keikha M. Systematic

review on the association of abdominal obesity in children and

adolescents with cardio‑metabolic risk factors. J Res Med Sci


Mihalopoulos NL, Holubkov R, Young P, Dai S, Labarthe DR.

Expected changes in clinical measures of adiposity during

puberty. J Adolesc Health 2010;47:360‑6.