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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 206715, 4 pages
Research Article

Total Body Fat Content versus BMI in 4-Year-Old Healthy Swedish Children

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, 581 85 Linköping, Sweden
2Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Novum, 141 83 Huddinge, Sweden

Received 6 November 2012; Revised 5 February 2013; Accepted 14 March 2013

Academic Editor: Analiza M. Silva

Copyright © 2013 Elisabet Forsum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Childhood overweight and obesity, a worldwide problem, is generally identified using BMI (body mass index). However, this application of BMI has been little investigated in children below 5 years of age due to a lack of appropriate methods to assess body composition. Therefore, we used air displacement plethysmography (ADP) to study 4.4-year old boys and girls since this method is accurate in young children if they accept the requirements of the measurement. The purpose was to analyze the relationship between BMI and body fat in these children. Body composition was assessed in 76 (43 boys, 33 girls) of the 84 children brought to the measurement session. Boys and girls contained and % body fat, respectively. BMI-based cut-offs for overweight could not effectively identify children with a high body fat content. There was a significant ( ) but weak ( ) correlation between BMI and body fat (%). In conclusion, requirements associated with a successful assessment of body composition by means of ADP were accepted by most 4-year-olds. Furthermore, BMI-based cut-offs for overweight did not effectively identify children with a high body fatness and BMI explained only a small proportion of the variation in body fat (%) in this age group.