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Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Nov;50(5 Suppl):1150-7; discussion 1231-5.

Need for body composition information in elderly subjects.

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National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782.


The need for accurate body composition information in elderly subjects is becoming more important as greater numbers of people reach older ages. An overview is given to describe some of the practical reasons why body composition data are necessary in various applied settings. Major changes in the body mass components and body dimensions are described to provide an enhanced awareness of the utility and increased needs for body composition information in applied and research settings. These needs for additional body composition data in elderly subjects include the following uses: to prevent malnutrition in institutionalized persons: to screen for health risks; to plan intervention and evaluate therapy; to study mechanisms of fat pattern change and correlates of stature loss; to study associations among fat patterning and mortality; as a prognostic indicator for conditions receiving treatment; and to develop improved reference standards for ambulatory and nonambulatory elderly persons.

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