Is there a rationale for establishing Slovenian body mass index references of school-aged children and adolescents?

  • Gregor Starc University of Ljubljana
  • Janko Strel University of Ljubljana
Keywords: BMI reference, skinfolds, children, adolescents, Slovenia, LMS


This study provides the rationale for construction of first nationally-specific BMI-for-age charts for school-aged children and adolescents in Slovenia. Because nonationally specific BMI cut-off points have been developed in Slovenia so far, international references such as WHO and IOTF BMI-for-age charts have been utilized in research and diagnostics. We tired to establish whether the use of more recent Slovenian data for production of BMI-for-age charts could result in improved accuracy of this tool for defining adipose tissue. We used the data of 4,931 boys and 4,699 girls aged from 6 to 19 years, who were measured in 1993, 1994, 2003 and 2004 for the construction of nationally specific BMI references. Centile curves were constructed using the LMS method. After classifying a sample of Slovenian children and adolescents into underweight, normal, overweight and obese category according to national, WHO and IOTF references, we calculated the correlations of these classifications with the sum of triceps, abdominal and subscapular skinfolds. The results showed strong correlation of all three references with the sum of skinfolds in boys and girls, but the national references achieved the strongest correlations. We conclude that the nationally-specific BMI cut-off points, based on more recent data than international references, would be appropriate for defining underweight, overweight and obesity in Slovenian school-aged population.