Changes in waist circumference among adolescents in England from 1977-1987 to 2005-2007

J. S. Mindell, H. Dinsdale, C. Ridler, H. R. Rutter

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OBJECTIVE: To assess change in abdominal obesity in adolescents in England. STUDY DESIGN: Health Survey for England (HSE), annual cross-sectional surveys of nationally representative samples in England. METHODS: This study included 1770 children aged 11-16 years in HSE 2005-2007 with valid waist circumference (WC) measurements. WC and body mass index (BMI) were expressed as standard deviation scores (z scores) against the growth references used for British children. RESULTS: Mean WC z scores were substantially higher than mean BMI z scores for both sexes: WC 1.0 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93-1.1], BMI 0.54 (95% CI 0.44-0.63) for boys; WC 1.3 (95% CI 1.2-1.4), BMI 0.48 (95% CI 0.40-0.56) for girls (both P <0.001). Mean WC z score was higher for girls than boys (P <0.001). Between 1997 and 2005-2007, WC increased for both boys (P <0.01) and girls (P <0.001), but BMI did not (P > 0.05). Only children in the lowest WC decile had an increase in WC z score less than +1 standard deviation compared with the 1977-1987 baseline. BMI z score increased across the top nine deciles of the BMI distribution by 0.4 (2nd-4th deciles) to 0.9 (top decile). CONCLUSIONS: WC in adolescents has increased substantially, and probably more than BMI. The whole population has become fatter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health
Issue number8
Early online date15 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012

Bibliographical note

Mindell, J S Dinsdale, H Ridler, C Rutter, H R eng Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Netherlands 2012/07/18 06:00 Public Health. 2012 Aug;126(8):695-701. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.05.004. Epub 2012 Jul 15.


  • Adolescent Body Mass Index Child England Female Humans Longitudinal Studies Male Obesity, Abdominal/*epidemiology *Waist Circumference


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