OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this work was to validate the performance of age- and gender-specific BMI, triceps, and subscapular skinfold for the classification of excess of body fat in children and adolescents and to examine how much additional information these 2 skinfold measurements provide to BMI-for-age.

METHODS. The receiver operating characteristic curve was used to characterize the sensitivity and specificity of these 3 indices in classifying excess body fat. Percentage of body fat was determined by dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry. Both ≥85th and ≥95th percentile of percentage of body fat were used to define excess body fat. Data from the New York Pediatric Rosetta Body Composition Project were examined (n = 1196; aged 5–18 years).

RESULTS. For children aged 5 to 18 years, BMI-for-age, triceps skinfold-for-age, and subscapular skinfold-for-age each performed equally well alone in the receiver operating characteristic curves in the identification of excess body fat defined by either the 85th or 95th percentile of percentage of body fat by dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry. However, if BMI-for-age was already known and was >95th percentile, the additional measurement of skinfolds did not significantly increase the sensitivity or specificity in the identification of excess body fat.

CONCLUSIONS. In contrast to the recommendations of expert panels, skinfold measurements do not seem to provide additional information about excess body fat beyond BMI-for-age alone if the BMI-for-age is >95th percentile.

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