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International Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology

Vol. 6, Issue 2, Part A (2024)

Weight-for-length ratio or body mass index - which one is the best predictor of future overweight and obesity?

Author(s):

Leonor Cardoso, Daniela Couto, Patrícia Gonçalves, Ana Luísa Cabrita, Pedro Simões, Dário Ferreira and Sofia Ferreira

Abstract:

Anthropometric references play a central role in identifying children at risk of overweight and obesity. However, there is still no consensus on whether body mass index (BMI) or weight/length ratio (W/L ratio) serves as the superior predictor of obesity in early childhood. This study aims to determine which of these two measurements is the more reliable predictor of future obesity.
Retrospective and observational cohort study, that included children followed in consultation from a level II hospital, currently aged between 5 and 15 years. Inclusion criteria required children who had anthropometric records at 0, 2, and 5 years old, as well as at least one record at 6, 12, or 18 months. A correlation analysis was conducted between the BMI z-score (z-BMI) and the W/L ratio z-score (z-W/L). Logistic regression was employed to assess the association between z-BMI and z-W/L up to 2 years with the presence of overweight/obesity at 5/6 years.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity by 5/6 years old was 12% and 13%, respectively. There was a strong correlation between z-BMI and z-W/L (r = 0.908 - 0.997, p<0.05). In linear analysis, only z-BMI proved to be related to a higher z-BMI by the age of 5/6 years. In logistic regression, both z-BMI and z-W/L (at 6, 12 and 18 months) were significant predictors of overweight and obesity by 2 and 5/6 years old. Furthermore, z-BMI at 0 months proved to be associated with the primary outcome by 5/6 years old, but not z-W/L. Both parameters proved to be effective predictors of overweight/obesity by 2 and 5/6 years of age. However, the results suggest that BMI may have a stronger association with overweight and obesity, making it a potentially better indicator of future obesity risk in late childhood than W/L ratio.

Pages: 11-18  |  59 Views  27 Downloads


International Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology
How to cite this article:
Leonor Cardoso, Daniela Couto, Patrícia Gonçalves, Ana Luísa Cabrita, Pedro Simões, Dário Ferreira and Sofia Ferreira. Weight-for-length ratio or body mass index - which one is the best predictor of future overweight and obesity?. Int. J. Pediatr. Neonatology 2024;6(2):11-18. DOI: 10.33545/26648350.2024.v6.i2a.75
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