Special Issue "Body Composition in Children"

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Odysseas Androutsos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Physical Education, Sport Science and Dietetics, University of Thessaly, 42132 Trikala, Greece
Interests: obesity; obesity-related diseases; metabolic syndrome; energy-balance-related behaviors; e/m-health interventions to prevent or manage obesity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Antonis Zampelas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, 157 72 Athens, Greece
Interests: human nutrition; cardiovascular nutrition; nutritional epidemiology; obesity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Body composition plays an important role in children’s health and infuences energy requirements. It is determined by a large number of factors, including genes, age, gender, ethnicity, perinatal factors, energy balance (nutrition, physical activity, sedentary behavior) and health status, while it is assessed by various complex techniques (e.g., four compartment model) or more surrogate methods (anthropometry, bioelectrical impedance analysis, etc.).

Developing new tools, standardizing the assessment methods, and evaluating the validity and applicability of existing or novel methods to assess body composition in wide population groups of children and/or pediatric patients would optimize nutritional assessement and enable the scientific community to overcome important barriers related to its applicability in public health actions and clinical practice.

Furthermore, undestanding the underlying mechanisms linking body composition and health is essential. Studies exploring the pathways through which adiposity induces changes of health indices are needed to tackle the effects of obesity in children’s metabolic profile and in the development of chronic diseases across the lifespan. On the other hand, studies aiming to shed more light on the interplay among undernutrition, nutritional status, prognosis, quality of life, and health indices in pediatric patients, as well as to elucidate how body composition influences the effectiveness of therapies in children, are required to improve health care.

Similarly, clarifying if and how various types of interventions (lifestyle, pharmacological, surgical, enteral/parenteral feeding, etc.) can improve children’s body composition in healthy or ill children is necessary to develop effective strategies to tackle both sides of malnutrition in childhood.

The Special Issue on “Body Composition in Children” aims to host articles that will focus on healthy or ill pediatric populations and will advance current knowledge on the role of body composition on children’s health, explore the determinants of malnutrition across childhood, present new techniques or test the validity of existing tools to assess body composition and provide new insights into how interventions can improve body composition in children and adolescents.

Dr. Odysseas Androutsos
Prof. Dr. Antonis Zampelas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Body composition
  • Growth
  • Malnutrition
  • Undernutrition
  • Wasting
  • Stunting
  • Underweight
  • Overweight
  • Obesity

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Dietary Sugar Intake and Its Association with Obesity in Children and Adolescents
Children 2021, 8(8), 676; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8080676 - 03 Aug 2021
Viewed by 814
Abstract
Sugar intake has been associated with increased prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity; however, results remain controversial. The aim of this study was to examine the probability of overweight/obesity with higher sugar intakes, accounting for other dietary intakes. Data from 1165 children and adolescents aged [...] Read more.
Sugar intake has been associated with increased prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity; however, results remain controversial. The aim of this study was to examine the probability of overweight/obesity with higher sugar intakes, accounting for other dietary intakes. Data from 1165 children and adolescents aged ≥2–18 years (66.8% males) enrolled in the Hellenic National Nutrition and Health Survey (HNNHS) were used; specifically, 781 children aged 2–11 years and 384 adolescents 12–18 years. Total and added sugar intake were assessed using two 24 h recalls (24 hR). Foods were categorized into specific food groups to evaluate the main foods contributing to intakes. A significant proportion of children (18.7%) and adolescents (24.5%) exceeded the recommended cut-off of 10% of total energy intake from added sugars. Sweets (29.8%) and processed/refined grains and cereals (19.1%) were the main sources of added sugars in both age groups, while in adolescents, the third main contributor was sugar-sweetened beverages (20.6%). Being overweight or obese was 2.57 (p = 0.002) and 1.77 (p = 0.047) times more likely for intakes ≥10% of total energy from added sugars compared to less <10%, when accounting for food groups and macronutrient intakes, respectively. The predicted probability of becoming obese was also significant with higher total and added-sugar consumption. We conclude that high consumption of added sugars increased the probability for overweight/obesity among youth, irrespectively of other dietary or macronutrient intakes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Fat Mass Index Associated with Blood Pressure Abnormalities in Children with Chronic Kidney Disease
Children 2021, 8(8), 621; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8080621 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are present early in life in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD), consequently cardiovascular morbidity presents in early adulthood. However, risk factors of CVD have been rarely addressed in children with early stage of CKD. This study included [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are present early in life in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD), consequently cardiovascular morbidity presents in early adulthood. However, risk factors of CVD have been rarely addressed in children with early stage of CKD. This study included 63 children and adolescents aged 8- to 18 years-old with CKD stage G1–G4. Cardiovascular assessments consisted of 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), arterial stiffness index, and echocardiography. We also applied dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning to analyze percentage body fat (PBF), lean body mass index (LBMI), fat mass index (FMI), and the android to gynoid fat ratio (A/G ratio). Up to 63.5% of CKD children had abnormal changes in BP detected by ABPM. CKD children with abnormal ABPM were older, had higher numbers of CKD stage G2 to G4, hyperuricemia, obesity, and higher FMI z-score and A/G ratio compared to individuals with normal ABPM (all p < 0.05). Among these factors, only FMI z-score showed an independent association with abnormal ABPM using multivariate logistic regression analysis (p = 0.037). Our data highlight that body fat plays a key role for an abnormal ABPM in CKD children. The assessment of FMI may have clinical utility in discriminating CV risk in children and adolescents with early stages of CKD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
Article
Changes in Body Composition and Anthropomorphic Measurements in Children Participating in Swimming and Non-Swimming Activities
Children 2021, 8(7), 529; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8070529 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Background. Physical activity is a well-known means of obesity prevention, but the relationship between exercise frequency and body composition in children has not been thoroughly investigated. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the body composition of children aged 11–12 who [...] Read more.
Background. Physical activity is a well-known means of obesity prevention, but the relationship between exercise frequency and body composition in children has not been thoroughly investigated. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the body composition of children aged 11–12 who regularly performed swimming and other sports as an organized extra-curricular physical activity for a 12-week period. Methods: The study included 46 students who attended swimming classes and 42 students who participated in training activities in other sports, including, but not limited to, football, basketball and athletics. Body height and body composition were measured using a Tanita BC 418 MA analyzer. The students individually reported their rate of perceived exertion during training using the Pictorial Children’s Effort Rating Table PCERT scale. Results: The weekly volume of training was substantially higher in the group of swimmers than in that playing other sports (12.3 h/week vs. 5.2 h/week, p < 0.01). After 12 weeks of training, body height and weight significantly increased in both groups (p < 0.001). However, the BMI value and adipose tissue content only increased in the group of non-swimmers. Swimmers perceived greater exertion during training than non-swimmers (7.1 vs. 5.8 on the PCERT scale, p < 0.01). Conclusions: In early pubescent children, engaging in vigorous exercise such as swimming for at least 10 h a week may restrain the growth of adipose tissue. However, the variety of exercises that are typical of team sports, if performed for no more than 5 h a week, may be insufficient to restrain adipose tissue growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Can Anthropometry and Body Composition Explain Physical Fitness Levels in School-Aged Children?
Children 2021, 8(6), 460; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8060460 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 723
Abstract
Physical fitness (PF) is closely related to various health outcomes and quality of life among children. However, the associations between anthropometry, body composition (BC), and PF are not fully elucidated. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the associations between demographic metrics (age, sex), [...] Read more.
Physical fitness (PF) is closely related to various health outcomes and quality of life among children. However, the associations between anthropometry, body composition (BC), and PF are not fully elucidated. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the associations between demographic metrics (age, sex), anthropometric measures (body mass index z-score (BMI z-score) waist/height ratio (WHtR)), BC parameters (body-fat percentage (BF%), muscle weight), and PF levels (800-m run, sit-and-reach, 1-min sit-ups, standing long jump) in school-aged children. Continuous variables were dichotomized by median splits. The results of 180 girls and 180 boys (mean age: 10.0 ± 0.7 years; mean BMI z-score: 0.366 ± 1.216) were analyzed. Multivariable linear regressions revealed that BF% (regression coefficient (B) = 3.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.5–4.3) was independently correlated with the 800-m run. Sex (B = 4.6, 95% CI = 3.0–6.3), age (B = 3.1, 95% CI = 1.9–4.3), and BMI z-score (B = −0.7, 95% CI = −1.4–−0.1) were independently related to sit-and-reach. Age (B = 3.3, 95% CI = 2.0–4.7), BF% (B = −0.3, 95% CI = −0.4–−0.2), and muscle weight (B = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.2–1.2) were independently associated with 1-min sit-ups. In addition to demography, anthropometry and BC provided additional information concerning some PF levels in school-aged children. Weight management and PF promotion should be addressed simultaneously in terms of preventive medicine and health promotion for children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Oral Diseases and Quality of Life between Obese and Normal Weight Adolescents: A Two-Year Observational Study
Children 2021, 8(6), 435; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8060435 - 22 May 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the association between oral disease burden and oral health related quality of life (OHRQoL) among overweight/obese (OW/OB) and normal weight (NW) Malaysian adolescents. A total of 397 adolescents were involved in the two-year prospective observational cohort study. OHRQOL [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the association between oral disease burden and oral health related quality of life (OHRQoL) among overweight/obese (OW/OB) and normal weight (NW) Malaysian adolescents. A total of 397 adolescents were involved in the two-year prospective observational cohort study. OHRQOL was measured through a self-administered questionnaire containing the short version of the Malaysian Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP[M]). Body mass index (BMI) was used for anthropometric measurement. Whilst, decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) index, Significant Caries Index (SiC), simplified basic periodontal examination (S-BPE), and gingival bleeding index (GBI) were used for clinical assessment tools. Higher dental caries prevalence was observed in the NW group while higher SiC was reported in the OW/OB group. Regardless of the obesity status, the prevalence of gingivitis (BPE code 1 and 2) was high in this study. A reduction of GBI prevalence was observed in the two-year follow-up results with an increased prevalence of OHRQoL impact in the OW/OB group compared to the NW group (p > 0.05). The findings from this study suggested that obesity status did not have influence over the burden of oral diseases and OHRQoL. It offers insights referring to the changes in adolescents’ oral diseases burden and OHRQoL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Communication
Childhood Obesity in Serbia on the Rise
Children 2021, 8(5), 409; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8050409 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 471
Abstract
The aim of the study was to examine changes in obesity prevalence among primary school children in Serbia between 2015 and 2019 rounds of the national WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI-Serbia). Cross-sectional studies were conducted in 2015 and 2019. The nationally [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to examine changes in obesity prevalence among primary school children in Serbia between 2015 and 2019 rounds of the national WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI-Serbia). Cross-sectional studies were conducted in 2015 and 2019. The nationally representative samples of primary school children were measured for body height and weight, following the COSI protocol. Body Mass Index was calculated, and the IOTF and WHO definitions were used to classify children as overweight or obese. Participants were children of both sexes aged 7.00–8.99 years (n = 6105). Significant differences in overweight (obesity included) prevalence between two COSI rounds were identified regardless of definitions applied. According to the WHO definitions, prevalence of overweight and obesity combined increased in 7–9-year-old children in Serbia from 30.7% in 2015 to 34.8% in 2019 (z = −3.309, p < 0.05), and according to the IOTF standards, the increase from 22.8% to 30% was registered (z = −6.08, p = 0.00). The childhood overweight/obesity rate is increasing in Serbia, which places monitoring and surveillance of children’s nutritional status high on the public health agenda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Percentile Reference Values for the Neck Circumference of Mexican Children
Children 2021, 8(5), 407; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8050407 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
Neck circumference was studied for the first time in a pediatric population in 2010. Since then, various countries have proposed cutoff values to identify overweight, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. However, no reference values have been established for the Mexican child population. The aim [...] Read more.
Neck circumference was studied for the first time in a pediatric population in 2010. Since then, various countries have proposed cutoff values to identify overweight, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. However, no reference values have been established for the Mexican child population. The aim of this study is to provide percentile reference values for the neck circumference of Mexican schoolchildren. Only normal-weight schoolchildren aged 6–11 years were included. Percentiles and growth charts were constructed based on the “Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale and Shape” (GAMLSS). A total of 1059 schoolchildren (52.9% female) was evaluated. Weight, height, and BMI values were higher for males; however, this difference was not statistically significant. The 50th percentile for females was 24.6 cm at six years old and 28.25 cm at 11 years old, and for males, it was 25.75 cm and 28.76 cm, respectively. Both males and females displayed a pronounced increase in neck circumference between 10 and 11 years of age. The greatest variability was found in the 11-year-old group, with an increase of 5.5 cm for males and 5.4 cm for females. This study presents the first reference values for neck circumference for a Mexican child population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity and Body Composition in Children from the Spanish Region of Aragon
Children 2021, 8(5), 341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8050341 - 26 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 492
Abstract
Most of the studies analyzing the effect of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on children’s health do not contain information on early stages or do not use accurate methods. We investigated the association between PA and body composition using objective methods, perinatal [...] Read more.
Most of the studies analyzing the effect of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on children’s health do not contain information on early stages or do not use accurate methods. We investigated the association between PA and body composition using objective methods, perinatal data, lifestyle behaviors, and World Health Organization (WHO) physical activity (PA) recommendations. The CALINA study is a longitudinal observational cohort study of children born in Aragon (Spain) in 2009. A total of 308 7-year-old children (52.3% boys) were assessed. We used dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and accelerometry. Rapid weight gain until 12 months and lifestyle behaviors were considered as covariates both in the ANCOVA and linear regression models. A higher percentage of boys met the WHO PA recommendations compared to girls (69.6% vs. 40.9%, respectively; p < 0.001). There was a negative association between MVPA and subtotal fat and abdominal fat in both girls and boys. After adjusting for perinatal and lifestyle variables, we found that subtotal body fat, abdominal fat, and fat mass index (FMI) were significantly lower in those classified as active. MVPA was associated with body fat both in boys and girls. More research is needed to identify the cutoffs points of MVPA that generate benefit to boys and girls in all body composition components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Comparison of Bioelectrical Impedance-Based Methods on Body Composition in Young Patients with Obesity
Children 2021, 8(4), 295; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8040295 - 11 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1332
Abstract
(1) Background: The determination of body composition is an important method to investigate patients with obesity and to evaluate the efficacy of individualized medical interventions. Bioelectrical impedance-based methods are non-invasive and widely applied but need to be validated for their use in young [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The determination of body composition is an important method to investigate patients with obesity and to evaluate the efficacy of individualized medical interventions. Bioelectrical impedance-based methods are non-invasive and widely applied but need to be validated for their use in young patients with obesity. (2) Methods: We compiled data from three independent studies on children and adolescents with obesity, measuring body composition with two bioelectrical impedance-based devices (TANITA and BIACORPUS). For a small patient group, additional data were collected with air displacement plethysmography (BOD POD) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). (3) Results: Our combined data on 123 patients (age: 6–18 years, body mass index (BMI): 21–59 kg/m²) and the individual studies showed that TANITA and BIACORPUS yield significantly different results on body composition, TANITA overestimating body fat percentage and fat mass relative to BIACORPUS and underestimating fat-free mass (p < 0.001 for all three parameters). A Bland–Altman plot indicated little agreement between methods, which produce clinically relevant differences for all three parameters. We detected gender-specific differences with both methods, with body fat percentage being lower (p < 0.01) and fat-free mass higher (p < 0.001) in males than females. (4) Conclusions: Both bioelectrical impedance-based methods provide significantly different results on body composition in young patients with obesity and thus cannot be used interchangeably, requiring adherence to a specific device for repetitive measurements to ascertain comparability of data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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Article
Changes in Children’s Body Composition and Posture during Puberty Growth
Children 2021, 8(4), 288; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8040288 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 516
Abstract
The main goal of our study was to determine how the age of children, puberty and anthropometric parameters affect the formation of body composition and faulty body posture development in children. The secondary goal was to determine in which body segments abnormalities most [...] Read more.
The main goal of our study was to determine how the age of children, puberty and anthropometric parameters affect the formation of body composition and faulty body posture development in children. The secondary goal was to determine in which body segments abnormalities most often occur and how gender differentiates the occurrence of adverse changes in children’s body posture and body composition during puberty. The study group consisted of 464 schoolchildren aged from 6–16. Body posture was assessed with the Zebris system. The composition of the body mass was tested with Tanita MC 780 MA body mass analyzer and the body height was measured using a portable stadiometer PORTSTAND 210. The participants were further divided due to the age of puberty. Tanner division was adopted. The cut-off age for girls is ≥10 years and for boys it is ≥12 years. The analyses applied descriptive statistics, the Pearson correlation, stepwise regression analysis and the t-test. The accepted level of significance was p < 0.05. The pelvic obliquity was lower in older children (beta = −0.15). We also see that age played a significant role in the difference in the height of the right pelvis (beta = −0.28), and the difference in the height of the right shoulder (beta = 0.23). Regression analysis showed that the content of adipose tissue (FAT%) increased with body mass index (BMI) and decreased with increasing weight, age, and height. Moreover, the FAT% was lower in boys than in girls (beta negative equal to −0.39). It turned out that older children (puberty), had greater asymmetry in the right shoulder blade (p < 0.001) and right shoulder (p = 0.003). On the other hand, younger children (who were still before puberty) had greater anomalies in the left trunk inclination (p = 0.048) as well as in the pelvic obliquity (p = 0.008). Girls in puberty were characterized by greater asymmetry on the right side, including the shoulders (p = 0.001), the scapula (p = 0.001) and the pelvis (p < 0.001). In boys, the problem related only to the asymmetry of the shoulder blades (p < 0.001). Girls were characterized by a greater increase in adipose tissue and boys by muscle tissue. Significant differences also appeared in the body posture of the examined children. Greater asymmetry within scapulas and shoulders were seen in children during puberty. Therefore, a growing child should be closely monitored to protect them from the adverse consequences of poor posture or excessive accumulation of adipose tissue in the body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Composition in Children)
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