Changes in pediatric waist circumference percentiles despite reported pediatric weight stabilization in the United States

Academic Article


  • Background: Obesity is a global health concern but the United States has reported a leveling in obesity rates in the pediatric population. Objective: To provide updated waist circumference (WC) percentile values, identify differences across time and discuss differences within the context of reported weight stabilization in a nationally representative sample of American children. Methods: Percentiles for WC in self-identified African Americans (AA), European Americans (EA) and Mexican Americans (MA) were obtained from 2009–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (NHANES2014). Descriptive trends across time in 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentile WC distributions were identified by comparing NHANES2012 with previously reported NHANESIII (1988–1994). Results: WC increased in a monotonic fashion in AA, EA and MA boys and girls. When compared with NHANESIII data, a clear left shift of percentile categories was observed such that values that used to be in the 90th percentile are now in the 85th percentile. Differences in WC were observed in EA and MA boys during a reported period of weight stabilization. Conclusion and Relevance: WC has changed in the US pediatric population across time, even during times of reported weight stabilization, particularly among children of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds.
  • Published In

  • Pediatric Obesity  Journal
  • Pediatric Obesity  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fernández JR; Bohan Brown M; López-Alarcón M; Dawson JA; Guo F; Redden DT; Allison DB
  • Start Page

  • 347
  • End Page

  • 355
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 5