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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Jul;89(1):345-52.

Measurement of fat mass using DEXA: a validation study in elderly adults.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


The accuracy of total body fat mass and leg fat mass measurements by fan-beam dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was assessed in 60 healthy elderly subjects (aged 70-79 yr). Total fat and leg fat mass at four leg regions (total leg, thigh, midthigh, and calf) were measured with the QDR 4500A (Hologic, Waltham, MA). The four-compartment model and multislice computed tomography scans were selected as criterion methods for total fat and leg fat mass, respectively. Total fat mass from DEXA was positively associated with fat mass from the four-compartment model with a standard error of the estimate ranging from 1.4 to 1.6 kg. DEXA fan-beam tended to overestimate fat mass for total leg and total thigh fat mass, whereas only marginal differences in fat mass measurements at the midthigh and calf were demonstrated (</=0.08 kg, P < 0.0005). Although there were significant differences between DEXA fan beam and the criterion methods, these differences were of small magnitude, suggesting that DEXA is an accurate method for measurement of fat mass for the elderly.

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