Body proportionality and adiposity are not related in 6- to 8-year-old Yucatec Maya children

Objective: To analyze the association between relative leg length – RLL – (leg length x 100/height) and adiposity in a sample of 6 to 8-year-old children of Maya ancestry from Motul and Merida, Mexico. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 260 children (128 girls) measured between 2011 and 2015. The RLL was used as a measure of body proportionality. Linear regression models were performed to examine the association between RLL (predictor) and three adiposity indicators (outcome variables): fat mass index (kg/m2), waist circumference (z-score) and sum of triceps and subscapular skinfolds (z-score). Results: The prevalence of stunting was 12%, and a higher prevalence (19%) of short RLL (leg stunting) was found. The prevalence of overweight and obesity were 16 and 20%, respectively, but the highest was found for abdominal obesity (40%). None of the adiposity indicators were related to RLL (p>0.05), even after adjusting for the influence of children’s sex and age. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the coexistence of short RLL and high body adiposity is not observed in all populations. Our findings do not discount the possibility that a negative association between RLL and adiposity is expressed at older ages.