Background Expressing anthropometric parameters (height, weight, BMI) as z-score is a key principle in the clinical assessment of children and adolescents. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts and the CDC-LMS method for z-score calculation are widely used to assess growth and nutritional status, though they can be imprecise in some percentiles. Objective To improve the accuracy of z-score calculation by revising the statistical method using the original data used to develop current z-score calculators. Design A Gaussian Process Regressions (GPR) was designed and internally validated. Z-scores for weight-for-age (WFA), height-for-age (HFA) and BMI-for-age (BMIFA) were compared with WHO and CDC-LMS methods in 1) standard z-score cut-off points, 2) simulated population of 3000 children and 3) real observations 212 children aged 2 to 18 yo. Results GPR yielded more accurate calculation of z-scores for standard cut-off points (p&type=&type=0.001) with respect to CDC-LMS and WHO approaches. WFA, HFA and BMIFA z-score calculations based on the 3 different methods using simulated and real patients, showed a large variation irrespective of gender and age. Z-scores around 0 +/- 1 showed larger variation than the values above and below +/- 2. Conclusion The revised z-score calculation method was more accurate than CDC-LMS and WHO methods for standard cut-off points. On simulated and real data, GPR based calculation provides more accurate z-score determinations, and thus, a better classification of patients below and above cut-off points. Statisticians and clinicians should consider the potential benefits of updating their calculation method for an accurate z-score determination.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208362, hdl.handle.net/1765/113430
Journal PLoS ONE
Citation
Martinez-Millana, A. (Antonio), Hulst, J.M, Boon, M, Witters, P, Fernandez-Llatas, C. (Carlos), Asseiceira, I. (Ines), … Ribes-Koninckx, C. (Carmen). (2018). Optimisation of children z-score calculation based on new statistical techniques. PLoS ONE, 13(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0208362