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Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Jul;52(1):52-8.

Body composition of humans: comparison of two improved four-compartment models that differ in expense, technical complexity, and radiation exposure.

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Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, New York, NY.


Multicompartment models are of growing importance in the study of body composition in humans. This study compares two improved four-compartment (water, protein, mineral, and fat) models that differ in expense, technological complexity, and radiation exposure. Primary data (from 31 subjects) for the first model were derived by dual-photon absorptiometry, 3H2O dilution, and hydrodensitometry and for the second model by delayed and prompt gamma neutron-activation analysis and 3H2O dilution. Estimates of fat, protein, and mineral from the first model were highly correlated with those from the second model (r = 0.98, 0.72, and 0.94, respectively; all p less than 0.001). The proportions of body weight represented by water, protein, mineral, and fat for the simpler first model (0.532, 0.155, 0.048, and 0.265) were similar to compartment fractions provided by the more complex and costly second model (0.532, 0.143, 0.046, and 0.279). Multicompartment body composition models can thus be developed from increasingly available techniques that compare favorably with similar results derived from limited-access instrumentation.

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