Beyond height and weight: a programme of school nurse assessed skinfold measurements from white British and South Asian origin children aged 4-5 years within the Born in Bradford cohort study.

Publication authors

West J, Santorelli G, Lennon L, O'Connell K, Corkett J, Wright J, Brierley S, Whincup P, Cameron N, Lawlor DA.



To describe the feasibility, reliability and additional information gained from collecting additional body fatness measures (beyond height and weight) from UK reception year children.


Prospective cohort study.


Bradford, UK.


2458 reception year children participating in the Born in Bradford (BiB) cohort study.


The feasibility and reliability of subscapular and triceps skinfold measurements and differences in adiposity between ethnic groups.


Of those children who were matched to their school, 91% had a subscapular skinfold measurement and 92% had a triceps skinfold measurement recorded. Reliability was generally over 90% for all measurers and both measurements. Pakistani children were slightly taller but weighed less and had lower triceps skinfold thickness (mean difference -1.8 mm, 95% CI -2.1 to -1.4 mm) but higher subscapular (mean difference 0.1 mm, 95% CI -0.1 to 0.4 mm) than white British children.


We have shown that it is feasible for school nurses to collect skinfold measurements in a similar way to the height and weight measurements collected from reception year children for the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), and that these measurements are reliable. It is important for healthcare practice to acknowledge ethnic-specific risk and these additional measurements can provide important information to examine population-level risk in populations with large proportions of South Asian children.