Skinfold standards provide a useful indication of subcutaneous fat.To evaluate skinfold thickness of 252 Cambridge infants over the first 2 years of age, SD scores relative to the Tanner standards were calculated, taking account of skewness in the standards. Cambridge SD scores were low, varying according to age from -1.2 to -1.8 for triceps and -0.6 to -1.2 for subscapular skinfolds. The Tanner skinfold standards were last revised 30 years ago, at a time of high prevalence of infantile obesity, and the present and other studies indicate that infants are now thinner. There is a need for new skinfold standards to reflect this change. Since the Cambridge infants contributed to the recent British height and weight references, it is suggested that their skinfold measurements could also serve as reference points.
(Arch Dis Child 1998;78:354-358)