Faculty Publications


Prevalence of obesity and body composition in Hong Kong school children

Document Type



Bioelectrical impedance, Body composition, Children, Obesity

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness





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Last Page



The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of obesity among Hong Kong school children and to identify differences in the percent of body fat as measured by skinfold and bioimpedance methods. A total of 1275 boys and 1153 girls aged 6-13 years from six Hong Kong primary schools were recruited. Weight, height and body composition, including skinfold, arm-to-leg bioimpedance (BIO), and leg-to-leg bioimpedance (TANITA), were measured for each participant. Pearson's correlation was calculated for the skinfold method and the two bioimpedance methods. ANOVA was used to determine the mean differences in skinfold and bioimpedance methods by age and gender. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 12.8% and 3.6%, respectively. Overall, boys had higher proportions of overweight and obesity than girls. The correlation of skinfold and bioimpedance measurements on percent of body fat was high for all girls (coefficient r ranging from 0.75 to 0.99, p = 0.05 to p < 0.01), and high for boys with normal weight (r ranging from 0.53 to 0.79, p = 0.17 to p < 0.01), but low for overweight and obese boys (r ranging from -0.02 to 0.22). The mean difference was significantly greater among younger age groups, except for the normal weight girls. Further investigation on why boys have a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity is warranted. More reliable measurement tools also need to be employed.

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