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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1991 May;51(3):245-53.

A comparison of measurements of lean body mass derived by bioelectrical impedance, skinfold thickness and total body potassium. A study in obese and non-obese normal subjects.

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Department of Medicine, Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.


The measurement of body composition is an important part of metabolic and epidemiological research, but most currently available methods are complex and expensive. We have, therefore, compared measurements of fat mass (FM) and lean body mass (LBM), obtained using a commercially available bioelectrical impedance monitor (The Holtain Body Composition Monitor) (IMP), and by measuring skinfold thickness (SFT), with values obtained by measuring total body potassium (TBK). Twenty subjects, 10 with a body mass index (BMI) less than 30 (kg m-2), (non-obese) and 10 with BMI greater than or equal to 30 (obese) took part in the study. There was a strongly significant linear relationship between LBM calculated from TBK and that calculated from impedance (IMP), in both non-obese and obese groups analysed separately (non-obese: r = 0.92; p less than 0.001 and obese: r = 0.92; p less than 0.001) and together (all: r = 0.89; p less than 0.001). LBM calculated from TBK was strongly linearly correlated with values derived from SFT for non-obese (r = 0.91; p less than 0.001) but not for obese subjects. Mean values of LBM of non-obese subjects derived by each method were not significantly different (TBK: 51.3 +/- 10.40 kg; IMP: 53.18 +/- 10.37 kg; SFT: 48.87 +/- 9.48 kg), but significant differences existed when the subjects were obese (TBK: 51.86 +/- 9.65 kg; IMP: 58.69 +/- 8.55 kg; SFT: 67.61 +/- 8.14 kg; p less than 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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