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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997 Dec;21(12):1167-75.

Age- and maturity-related changes in body composition during adolescence into adulthood: the Fels Longitudinal Study.

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Department of Community Health, Wright State University School of Medicine, Yellow Springs, OH 45387-1695, USA.



To examine patterns of change in total body fat (TBF), percent body fat (%BF), and fat-free mass (FFM), from 8-20 y of age and the effect of rate of skeletal maturation. To determine the degree of tracking of body composition for individuals from childhood into adulthood.


Annual serial data for TBF, %BF and FFM from underwater weighing using a multicomponent body composition model were collected from 130 Caucasian males and 114 Caucasian females between 1976 and 1996. Rate of maturation was defined as FELS skeletal age (SA) less chronological age (CA). Random effects models were used to evaluate general patterns of change and tracking of individual serial data over the 12 y age range.


Changes in TBF followed a quadratic model for males and for females with declining rates of change. Changes for %BF followed a cubic model for males and females. General patterns of change for FFM followed a cubic model for males and a quadratic model for females. TBF for males and females increased with age, but the rates of change declined with age. %BF for females increased from age 8-20 y. For males, %BF increased with age, but the positive rates of change declined and became a negative when aged about 13 y and reached a minimum at about the age of 15 y. The rate of change for %BF increased thereafter. FFM for males and females increased with age, but the rates of change decreased with age. The extent of tracking is inversely related to the length of the time interval. At the same age, rapidly-maturing children have significantly larger amounts of TBF, %BF and FFM then slow-maturing children. Tracking in body composition for individuals persisted from childhood to adulthood.


(1) There are gender-associated differences in these patterns of change for %BF and FFM but not for TBF; (2) TBF, %BF and FFM increased with increased rates of maturation; (3) significant tracking in body composition for individuals persists from childhood to adulthood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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