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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):1007-13.

Relation between body fat and age in 4 ethnic groups.

Author information

  • 1Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10025, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies of the relation between age and body fat reached differing conclusions concerning the question of whether body fat is lower in the elderly than in middle-aged persons.

OBJECTIVE:

The objectives of this study were to characterize the relation between age and body fat in 4 ethnic groups and test the hypothesis that body fat is lower in the elderly than in middle-aged persons.

DESIGN:

Body fat was measured in a sample of 1324 volunteers aged 20-94 y by using a 4-component model of body composition. Four ethnic groups were studied: Asians, blacks, Puerto Ricans, and whites. Regression models were developed for fat mass and fat percentage as functions of age.

RESULTS:

In all but one of the groups, a highly significant curvilinear relation between age and body fat was found, indicating a peak amount of body fat in late middle age and lower amounts of body fat at younger and older ages (P < 0.001). The age at which maximum body fat was predicted in the various groups ranged from 53 to 61 y for fat mass and from 55 to 71 y for fat percentage. In Puerto Rican men there was no significant relation between age and fat mass, and the relation between age and fat percentage was linear and positively correlated.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provided data on the relation between age and body fat in 4 ethnic groups and supported the hypothesis that body fat is lower in the elderly than in middle-aged persons.

PMID:
10232643
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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