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J Appl Biomech. 2005 Nov;21(4):371-82.

Predicting in vivo soft tissue masses of the lower extremity using segment anthropometric measures and DXA.

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  • 1Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.


The purpose of this study was to derive and validate regression equations for the prediction of fat mass (FM), lean mass (LM), wobbling mass (WM), and bone mineral content (BMC) of the thigh, leg, and leg + foot segments of living people from easily measured segmental anthropometric measures. The segment masses of 68 university-age participants (26 M, 42 F) were obtained from full-body dual photon x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans, and were used as the criterion values against which predicted masses were compared. Comprehensive anthropometric measures (6 lengths, 6 circumferences, 8 breadths, 4 skinfolds) were taken bilaterally for the thigh and leg for each person. Stepwise multiple linear regression was used to derive a prediction equation for each mass type and segment. Prediction equations exhibited high adjusted R2 values in general (0.673 to 0.925), with higher correlations evident for the LM and WM equations than for FM and BMC. Predicted (equations) and measured (DXA) segment LM and WM were also found to be highly correlated (R2 = 0.85 to 0.96), and FM and BMC to a lesser extent (R2 = 0.49 to 0.78). Relative errors between predicted and measured masses ranged between 0.7% and -11.3% for all those in the validation sample (n = 16). These results on university-age men and women are encouraging and suggest that in vivo estimates of the soft tissue masses of the lower extremity can be made fairly accurately from simple segmental anthropometric measures.

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