Waist circumference percentiles for Hispanic‐American children and comparison with other international references

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Introduction Waist circumference (WC) constitutes an indirect measurement of central obesity in children and adolescents. Objective To provide percentiles of WC for Hispanic‐American children and adolescents, and compare them with other international references. Materials and methods The sample comprised 13 289 healthy children between 6 and 18 years coming from public schools of middle and low socioeconomic levels in different parts of Argentina, Cuba, Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela. The LMS method to calculate WC percentiles was applied. Sex and age differences were assessed using Student's t test and ANOVA (SPSS v.21.0). Comparisons were established with references from the United States, Colombia, India, China, Australia, Kuwait, Germany, Tunisia, Greece, and Portugal. Results WC increases with age in both sexes. Boys show higher WC in P3, P50, and P97. Comparison of 50th and 90th percentiles among populations from diverse sociocultural and geographical contexts shows high variability, not all justified by the measurement method. Discussion and conclusions Specific WC percentiles for sex and age, and P90 cut‐off points are provided; these values are potentially useful to assess central obesity in Hispanic‐American adolescent children.