ABSTRACT Background: Central obesity is associated with adverse health outcomes. This study aimed to determine the characteristics of central body fat distribution in Thai preschool children and to examine factors that could influence on body fat distribution of children. Methods: The total 811, 5 - 6 years old children were randomly sampled from 9 primary schools in Saraburi province. Body weight and height were measured in each child. Waist circumference (WC) was measured at the umbilicus level and hip circum-ference (HC) at the level yielding maximum circumference over buttock. Subcutaneous skinfold was measured on biceps, triceps, subscapular, suprailiac and abdominal regions. Total body fat (TBF) was measured with bioelectrical impedance analyzer. Results: Mean values of WC, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) of boys were not different from those of girls. Even though trunk skinfolds of both genders were similar, girls tended to have slightly greater biceps, triceps and subscapular skinfolds than boys. Strongly positive correlation was found between WC, WHtR, trunk skinfold and child’s BMI (p = 0.01) as well as between WC, WHtR, trunk skinfold and child’s TBF (p = 0.01). Multiple regression analysis demonstrated, in both genders, that BMI, age and TBF were strongly associated with WC (Adjusted R2 0.92 - 0.93) and WHtR (Adjusted R2 0.90 - 0.92) and that BMI and TBF were strongly associated with trunk skinfold (Adjusted R2 0.88 - 0.89). The association between WHR and TBF for boys and between WHR and BMI for girls were found to be weak in this study. Conclusion: No gender difference in body fat distribution indices was found in Thai preschool children. Change in central body fat distribution of children could be strongly influenced by their changes in age, BMI and TBF.
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