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Adiposity-Age Distribution and Nutritional Status in Girls With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

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Study Design

Cross-sectional comparative study.


To assess the adiposity-age distribution in girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and to define the prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity in these patients as compared with healthy controls.

Summary of Background Data

The current literature focusing the nutritional status of individuals with AIS does not provide data on the prevalence of overweight in these patients.


The sample consisted of 112 adolescent girls with idiopathic scoliosis and 231 healthy age-matched girls from the same geographic region. Three different validated body mass index (BMI) cutoffs for adolescents were used to define the nutritional status. Adiposity was labeled according to Adiposity & Fat Distribution for Adolescents (AFAD-A) criteria.


There were significant differences in BMI and fat percentage according to age (p < .005) in both AIS patients and healthy controls. The overall prevalence of underweight was similar in both groups (scoliotic girls, 4.5%; controls, 4.8%). Obesity was more prevalent in AIS patients than in healthy controls. The World Health Organization–2007 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cutoffs detected similar percentages of AIS girls with obesity (10.7%) and healthy controls (5.4%). The International Obesity Taskforce detected a 6.3% of AIS girls with obesity and only 3.0% in controls. Fat-age distribution gradually decreases from 11–13 to 16–17 years in AIS patients (p < .05). The overall prevalence of adolescents with fat overload (body fat index [BFI] >7.6) was similar in both groups (AIS, 0.9%; controls, 0.8%).


The proportion of adolescents with obesity was twofold higher among AIS girls than in age-matched healthy controls. However, in AIS girls, the BFI differed from that shown by healthy peers, being lower along the middle adolescence period (13–15 years). AIS girls showed an important increase in underweight at late adolescence (16–17 years).

Level of Evidence

Level III, diagnostic.

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Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carlos Barrios MD, PhD.

Additional information

Author disclosures: DE (none), IB (none), JB (none), CB (none).

IRB approval: The institutional review board of the clinic institution involved in the study (Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid, Spain) approved the study.

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Escrivá, D., Benet, I., Burgos, J. et al. Adiposity-Age Distribution and Nutritional Status in Girls With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine Deform 7, 565–570 (2019).

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