Several countries have published reference percentiles for body fat percentage (%BF) in children and adolescents. In contrast, there are few reference data available on body fat in Chinese children and adolescents.
Percent fat was derived from the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) of a representative sample aged 6~18 years (N=7435). The LMS (L: skewness, M: median, and S: coeffıcient of variation) regression method was used to create age- and gender-specifıc smoothed percentiles of %BF.
Growth curves are similar between boys and girls until age 11. However, whereas %BF peaks for boys at about age 11 years, it continues to increase for girls throughout adolescence. Median %BF is from 17.06% (age 15) to 24.88% (age 11) for boys, and from 20.42% (age 6) to 31.45% (age 18) for girls.
This study established body fat percentile smoothed curves by LMS method based on a representative sample of Beijing children and adolescents, which was a basic step to establish appropriate cutoff values for obesity identification based on health-related outcomes. These body fat percentiles are derived from BIA, which is widely available in China and accurate at present. Using %BF instead of BMI may offer more accurate information in epidemiologic research, nutritional assessment, and intervention programs.