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Bit concerned that my year 10 dd has done a skinfold test as part of her PE GCSE which gave 26% - obese

(19 Posts)
hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 00:49:53

So dd who is adult women height (5 ft 6 inches) and a size 8 did caliper skin fold test in her PE class. She attends a small school and there is only one other girl doing PE GCSE - they were instructed to go the girls changing rooms to conduct the measurements (the boys stayed in class and did it there under teacher supervision). According to their own measurements the other girl (who is tiny wee) had a fat percentage of 25.5 and dd, who is a more athletic build but nevertheless still lean scored 26%. The teacher advised that this was in the obese category for their age group - but was apparently at pains to reassure them that he knew they weren't obese, that they were fit and healthy and please don't worry about it...and it was probably a measurement issue. But she is - worried that is! (naturally I have reassured her that it is all nonsense)

This is a girl who is a keen footballer, sprinter and plays netball and has a body type that visually approximates to somebody like Jessica Ennis-Hill

We could move on, but next lesson they are apparently going to be looking at BMI. DD is her mothers daughter - at my leanest (this was a few years ago - am a bit chunky now), when I had insufficient body fat to sustain menstruation and my periods stopped, I was only just within the normal BMI range at 24.2. We (she and I) weigh heavy ( we put on muscle so easily and have dense bones). I am already worried that dd will be freaked out if her BMI is 23/24 or god forbid higher. For the record, when I was at my leanest with a BMI of 24.2 a BUPA health check put my body fat at a level below the normal range.

Not sure why I am posting - just worried that dd might freak out and also seeking validation that skin caliper and BMI are unreliable ....

scaevola Sun 14-May-17 09:20:28

BMI is actually a very good screening. Most people are not builders, infanteers, weightlifters or elite athletes, and the healthy range is large enough to encompass all standard variations of frame etc.

It gets a bad press when people misrepresent it as perfect diagnostic, rather than good screening.

I thought that calliper measuring was a useful indicator of body fat, assuming it was done properly. Which it may not have been by two unsupervised pupils.

hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 10:03:40

I am assuming that the skin caliper test was done inexpertly by the two girls. DD said that she and her friend "really went for it" grin. I do rather think that with the background issue of eating disorders for teenagers, that the PE teacher perhaps should have got his female PE teacher colleague to join the lesson and do the girls calliper test

Hmmm - well I wasn't an elite athlete (although very fit at the time) when my BMI was only just within the normal range (at a BMI of 24) but my body fat was recorded as below normal and my periods had all but stopped (very erratic)....

I am going to weigh dd and work out her BMI so that she is prepared before the lesson. I anticipate it will be under 25 (looking at her, she as lean as anything) but may well be 23/24 and is likely to be higher than many of the others. Being a teenage girl she will worry about this...

I did find this academic reference when idly googling
misclassification of teen athletes by BMI

HildaOg Sun 14-May-17 15:20:50

Has she hit puberty? A ten year old shouldn't have an adults bmi because they're not developed like one so what's skinny on a twenty year old can be fat on a ten year old of the same height and weight because their body is differently proportioned. If any extra weight isn't on the stomach then she's probably fine.

Nobody has heavy enough bones that it would make more than a few pounds difference on a weighing scale. A very sporty mesomorph may weigh in very heavy despite being perfect because of their high muscle mass.

HildaOg Sun 14-May-17 15:21:39

Sorry I read that as she was ten, not year ten!!!!!!

HildaOg Sun 14-May-17 15:22:12

If she's an eight at 5"6 then she's slim.

Musicaltheatremum Sun 14-May-17 15:30:15

Hang on, body fat percentage and BMI are totally different things. Just looked on line and a body fat percentage up to 31% is normal in a female. The teacher shouldn't be doing these things if they don't understand them.

hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 15:37:31

grin HildaOg!

Absolutely Musicaltheatremum - he shouldn't be doing these things if he doesn't understand them

Anyway may have panicked too soon on BMI- we weighed and measured at home and her BMI is 22, so she is partly mollified by that. Hopefully she won't now starve herself! Body weight and body image are such a minefield among teenage girls in particular

meditrina Sun 14-May-17 15:39:38

All that article says is that muscle is denser than fat.

And that BMI is a screening, not a diagnostic.

For mid teens, the child BMI scales still apply. So she would be overweight at 85th and obese at over 95th.

So do not misinterpret the screening (as it seems the teacher might have done) by putting the overweight/obese boundaries in totally the wrong place for her age.

SexTrainGlue Sun 14-May-17 15:51:36

"Typically, young children have a body fat percentage of about 18 percent, regardless of their gender. As girls go through puberty, their body fat usually increases by 8 to 10 percent as a result of normal development. A healthy body fat percentage for females is between 17 and 32 percent, with anything over 32 percent being too high, even if you're within a healthy weight range."

The teacher who said otherwise should be first against the wall come the revolution.

hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 15:53:53

grin SexTrainGlue - I think so too.

She is well past puberty and much closer to being a woman than a child.

Musicaltheatremum Sun 14-May-17 19:28:21

My daughter is 24 5'9 and weighs 70kg and is a size 10. She has so much muscle having been a dancer. She does put on weight easily though and still needs careful handling as she is an Actress and weight is all important. (She still tucked into a dominoes pizza last night though 😂)

hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 20:07:24

Everyone needs a Dominos pizza now and then grin

LockedOutOfMN Sun 14-May-17 20:10:48

I've only read the original post. I suspect the girls have done the test incorrectly. Maybe you could see if there are videos on YouTube?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 14-May-17 20:25:58

Quick look at Wikipedia puts normal body fat percentage as 25. -31 for women. Lower for men.

BMI generally works but not for everyone. When I started going out with Dh he was very skinny. As in his bones were sharp on his chest. He had a BMI of about 24.

He also had muscles like Pop Eye and was an ex junior international at his chosen sport.

20 years later he definitely has a bit of "middle age spread" and could do with losing a stone in my view. However, he still has a resting heart rate of 45 and on holiday decided to go mountain biking (for the second time in his life) and was able to keep up with a couple of ex-competitive mountain bikers for over 40 miles. (So still pretty fit.) According to BMI I think he might be getting close to obese category.

hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 21:11:33

I find that entirely credible Mumoftwoyoungkids - there are people who are outliers with BMI. As you says it works for some but is not entirely reliable. Resting heart rate of 45 is impressive! DD is proud of her 57

Teardropexplodes Sun 14-May-17 21:17:35

Fairly certain my PT told me it doesn't get below about 20% in women. I may be wrong, but we do them monthly at review. I'm 5ft6 too and was just into obese when I started training. My calliper was around 40% from memory. I've lost 2st and am still a stone overweight but still in the 30s.

hmcAsWas Sun 14-May-17 21:20:37

Congrats on losing 2 stone Teardrop!

Helspopje Sun 14-May-17 21:23:29

My periods stop at a bf% of <20.
Def not values in the obese range for women

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