The purpose of this study was to describe changes with age in adipose tissue distribution in a longitudinal sample of children from 4 to 14 years of age, and to determine the amount of “tracking” of fat patterns during childhood. Two indices of subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution were defined: the logarithms of the subscapular/triceps, and suprailiac/triceps skinfold thickness ratios. Changes in these indices were described by chronological age and by skeletal age for each sex. Median scores for these indices were negative, indicating “peripheral” subcutaneous adipose tissue distributions, throughout most of childhood in each sex. Both indices increased rapidly in a “centripetal” direction in girls between 11 and 13 years and in boys after 13 years of age. Annual age-to-age correlations were low for each index in each sex, and status at age 14 could not be predicted from index scores at earlier ages. Second degree polynomial regressions describing changes with age in individuals for the subscapular/triceps skinfold thickness index had statistically significant fits for only about half of the boys and of the girls. The ability to fit polynomial curves to the data was not associated with differences in relative adiposity or maturity. It was concluded that adipose tissue distribution is very labile in childhood and that changes with age cannot be predicted for many individuals. Nonetheless, subcutaneous fat patterns start to change towards a more “centripetal” distribution in most boys and girls about the time of pubescence.
Baumgartner, Richard N. and Roche, Alex F.
"Tracking of Fat Pattern Indices in Childhood: The Melbourne Growth Study,"
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol60/iss4/5