Several definitions of paediatric abdominal obesity have been proposed but it is unclear whether they lead to similar results. We assessed the prevalence of abdominal obesity using five different waist circumference-based definitions and their agreement with total body fat (TBF) and abdominal fat (AF). Data from 190 girls and 162 boys (Ballabeina), and from 134 girls and 113 boys (Kinder-Sportstudie, KISS) aged 5-11 years were used. TBF was assessed by bioimpedance (Ballabeina) or dual energy X-ray absorption (KISS). On the basis of the definition used, the prevalence of abdominal obesity varied between 3.1 and 49.4% in boys, and 4.7 and 55.5% in girls (Ballabeina), and between 1.8 and 36.3% in boys and 4.5 and 37.3% in girls (KISS). Among children considered as abdominally obese by at least one definition, 32.0 (Ballabeina) and 44.7% (KISS) were considered as such by at least two (out of five possible) definitions. Using excess TBF or AF as reference, the areas under the receiver operating curve varied between 0.577 and 0.762 (Ballabeina), and 0.583 and 0.818 (KISS). We conclude that current definitions of abdominal obesity in children lead to wide prevalence estimates and should not be used until a standard definition can be proposed.