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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 8, 2016

Percentiles for anthropometric measures in Iranian children and adolescents: the CASPIAN-IV study

  • Roya Kelishadi , Mostafa Qorbani EMAIL logo , Mostafa Hosseini , Maryam Bahreynian , Shirin Djalalinia , Mohammad Esmail Motlagh , Gelayol Ardalan , Maliheh Khoramdad , Morteza Mansourian , Hamid Asayesh and Ramin Heshmat EMAIL logo



The aim of the study was to provide the age- and sex-specific percentile values of anthropometric measures for Iranian children and adolescents.


This cross-sectional nationwide survey was conducted on a representative sample of 14,880 school students, selected by multistage random cluster sampling from urban and rural areas of 30 provinces in Iran. Anthropometric measures including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), and wrist circumference were measured under standard protocols by using calibrated instruments. Age- and gender-specific reference values were developed for anthropometric measures by the maximum penalized likelihood approach [Cole’s least mean square (LMS) method].


In the present study, 13,486 out of the 14,880 invited subjects completed all the required data of the study (participation rate: 90.6%). Participants consisted of 6640 girls (49.2%) and 75.6% urban residents; their mean and standard deviation (SD) age was 12.47±3.36 years. The BMI percentile curves of girls had a sharp increase from 14 to 18 years, and then began to plateau, but among boys, these curves had a consistent increase until the age of 18 years. In addition, the higher percentiles were higher in adolescent boys than girls. The HC percentile curves of both sexes had a persistent increase and the percentiles for HC were higher in adolescent girls than in boys. WC had a sharp increase from 7 to 18 years of age for boys, whereas for girls, these curves had a less sharp increase with age. In all ages, the percentiles for wrist circumference were higher in adolescent boys than girls.


The findings of this study highlight the necessity of paying special attention to developing age- and gender-specific percentiles of anthropometric measures in children and adolescents.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: This nationwide survey was conducted in Iran with corporation of the Ministry of Health and Medical education, Ministry of Education and Training, Child Health Promotion Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, and Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences., (Grant/Award Number: ‘F234565’).

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2016-2-1
Accepted: 2016-5-26
Published Online: 2016-7-8
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

©2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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