BMI and WHtR in assessing the nutritional status of adolescent girls


  • Ramamani D. Department of Paediatrics, Tagore Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Suganya E. Department of Community Medicine, Tagore Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



Body mass index, Nutritional status, Waist to height ratio


Background: In spite of the fact, that, Body mass index being a most commonly used epidemiological tool for the assessment of nutritional status, it does not measure the visceral adiposity, which is the indicator for future cardio-metabolic risk. Hence the study was planned to determine whether Waist height ratio, which is an effective tool in measuring the visceral adiposity, has any relationship with the BMI, in assessing the nutritional status.

Methods: The cross sectional study was carried out among 980 school going adolescent girls, studying in class VI-XII standard, in the schools present in urban field practice area of Tagore Medical College and Hospital. Anthropometric assessment was done. BMI and WHtR was calculated, to assess the nutritional status. Relationship between BMI and WHtR was found.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 14±2.9 years. Number of participants, who were normal, underweight, overweight, obese based on BMI values were 227, 5, 301, 447 respectively According to the WHtR, 560 (57%) of them were obese, while 420 (43%) were non-obese. Moderate correlation exists between BMI and WHtR, with r = 0.68.

Conclusions: Waist height ratio having a positive correlation with the BMI in the assessment of nutritional status, preference of WHtR over BMI should be encouraged, as it also helps in measuring the visceral adiposity, which, is a potent risk factor for various metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.


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