n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Gender differences in waist circumference in Nigerian Children : kinanthropometry

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The aim of this study was to develop age- and sex-specific reference values for waist circumference (WC) based on a sample of 2015 primary school children (i.e. 979 boys and 1036 girls aged 9-12 years) who were randomly selected from 19 primary schools in Makurdi, Benue State of Nigeria. Waist and hip circumferences were measured with a flexible anthropometric tape according to the protocol of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). Mean WC was higher in girls than in boys, and these differences were statistically significant from age 10 onwards. Similarly, hip circumference was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in girls than in boys at all ages. Whereas waist and hip circumferences increased with age in both sexes, the increase was relatively greater for hip circumference. Generally, waist-related percentiles values increased with age in boys and girls, but girls had higher values than boys in most of the age-specific percentiles. WC showed significantly higher (p < 0.0001) values in girls than in boys at ages 10-12 years, and this increased with age in both categories. The reference data obtained in this study can be used to identify children with high risk of developing obesity-related disorders and form the basis for future research studies.

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