Use of waist to hip ratio in the determination of the body composition in preschool children in Latvian population


  • Gundega Skruze Institute of Anatomy and Anthropology, Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga
  • Dzintra Kažoka Institute of Anatomy and Anthropology, Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga



body composition, body mass index, nutrition, waist to hip ratio


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2008, the waist to hip ratio (WHR) has been suggested superior to the body mass index (BMI) in predicting the cardiovascular disease risk in adults and adolescents. There have been studies about the WHR in preschool children in the populations of Pakistan, Chile and Mexico; and it is not the WHO which recommended it as a routine method in preschool children.

The present study includes 85 children (41 girls and 44 boys), aged 5 to 7 years, without any chronic conditions. Body height, body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, triceps skinfold, abdominal skinfold and subscapular skinfold were measured. The WHR, the BMI, the sum of three skinfolds and the percentage of body fat (%BF) were calculated.

It was found that the WHR decreased with age in girls; there were no specific changes found in the WHR with age in boys. The present study found no correlation in boys or girls between the WHR and the BMI; the WHR and the sum of three skinfolds; the WHR and the percentage of BF. There was also no correlation between the Z-scores of the BMI and Z-scores of the WHR.

Conclusions. The WHR is a questionable body composition marker in preschool children in the Latvian population and must be evaluated separately from other body composition markers.


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