Neck circumference cut-off points to determine obesity in Chilean preschool children

María José Arias-Téllez, Barbara Leyton, Clarice M. de Lucena Martins, Juliana Kain, Gabriela Noemí Carrasco Navarro, Sandra Mahecha-Matsudo, Johana Patricia Soto-Sánchez


Background: The prevalence of obesity in Chilean preschoolers is high. Simple methods for the diagnosis in Chilean preschoolers are of public health interest. We determined neck circumference cut-off points as a proxy measure of obesity according to age and sex.

Methods: 597 participants (267 girls) were included. NC, weight, height, and waist circumference were measured. Body mass index scores (BMI z scores) was calculated. Descriptive variables for girls and boys were compared with t-test. Pearson correlations were calculated to examine the relationship of NC with classical anthropometric measures. NC cut-off values (ROC analysis) and Kappa coefficient, were calculated.

Results: NC was positively associated with BMI z score and WC among girls and boys, across age groups (all p<0.001). Obese cut-off points of NC for elevated BMI z score were between 25.3~25.9 cm in girls and 26.2 in boys, while those for WC were, 25.7 and 26.3 for 5-year-old girls and boys, respectively. The KC between BMI z score or WC with NC had an agreement strength between poor to moderate (all p<0.001).

Conclusions: NC demonstrated to be a reliable indicator for the diagnosis of obesity for Chilean preschoolers. Future studies are needed to validate this finding.


Neck circumference, Obesity, Preschooler

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