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Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Mar;57(3):323-6.

Determination of body composition--a comparison of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and hydrodensitometry.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Uppsala, Sweden.


Determination of body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was evaluated in healthy men, by using underwater weighing (UWW), skinfold thickness measurement, and bioimpedance analysis. There were strong correlations between percent body fat obtained by all techniques, but DEXA gave significantly lower values (P < 0.001). The influence of differences in bone mineral density (BMD) on fat content determined by UWW was also studied. The individual differences between UWW and DEXA fat estimates were calculated and there was a negative correlation with BMD (r = -0.50, P < 0.05). There was also a negative correlation between body fat by UWW and BMD (r = -0.71, P < 0.01) in the subjects with lowest fat by DEXA, indicating that high or low BMD gave false values by UWW. In conclusion, DEXA and UWW provide complementary information and a combination of these techniques seems to offer new opportunities in evaluations of body composition.

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