Waist circumference and waist-to-height percentiles for the youth of Crete, Greece

Manolis Linardakis, Katerina Sarri, G Bertsias, Angeliki Papadaki, Anthony Kafatos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Background: Waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) are simple markers for central adiposity in children.
Objective: To develop age- and sex-specific WC and WHtR percentile curves for the youth of Crete, Greece and graphically compare them with curves from other countries.
Study group: Representative sample of 5,388 children and adolescents (2,661 boys, 2,727 girls), aged 3-17.9 years.
Methods: Data were provided from six cross-sectional and longitudinal studies conducted between 1992 and 2005. Smoothed WC and WHtR percentile curves were constructed using polynomial regression models.
Results: Mean WC increased and WHtR decreased with age in both boys and girls, whereas boys had overall higher mean values, compared with girls. The WC curves tended to plateau in boys and slightly decrease in girls at the higher end of the age range. Compared to children from Cyprus, Turkey, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, USA, Netherlands, U.K, Australia and Canada, Cretan children and adolescents had overall a higher 50th smoothed percentile for WC. Italian children were the only ones with a higher 50th percentile for WC, compared with their Cretan counterparts.
Conclusions: WC and WHtR percentile curves for the children of Crete, as introduced in this study, could be used as a clinical assessment tool for paediatricians and for public health professionals to influence policy recommendations regarding childhood obesity and central adiposity. These curves contribute to the future establishment of international reference data for waist circumference; however, the development of representative percentiles for the total of the Greek childhood and adolescent population is warranted. Also, for comparison purposes, different methodologies between studies should be taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-342
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Chld Health and Human Development
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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