Measurement is a fundamental component of all forms of research, and it is certainly true for research on childhood obesity.

A top priority for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) is to promote accurate measurement by encouraging the consistent use of high-quality, comparable methods across childhood obesity prevention and research. NCCOR recognizes it can be challenging for users to choose the most appropriate methods to assess childhood adiposity. To address this need, NCCOR developed this Guide to describe various methods of adiposity measurement, present case studies that walk users through the process of using various adiposity assessment methods, and direct users to additional resources and sources of useful information.

The goal of this Guide is to assist users on how to select the most appropriate method of measuring adiposity in children when conducting population-level research and/or evaluation on obesity. This Guide is also designed for researchers and for public health practitioners engaged in research as well as other professionals and practitioners who have an interest in evaluating weight-related outcomes within their clinic or community-based weight management or health promotion programs.

Organization of this Guide

A Guide to Methods for Assessing Childhood Obesity is organized into several sections that present keys concepts and measures for assessing childhood adiposity. These sections are as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Body Composition and Measuring Adiposity
  3. Key Factors Influencing Body Composition and Its Distribution
  4. Clinical Utility of Assessing Adiposity in Children
  5. Assessing Adiposity
  6. Using Secondary Data to Assess Obesity
  7. Measuring Body Composition in Population Health Research: Case Studies
  8. Conclusion

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