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Clinical measures of adiposity and percentage fat loss: which measure most accurately reflects fat loss and what should we aim for?
  1. Linda P Hunt
  1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
    1. Anna Ford
    1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
      1. Matthew A Sabin
      1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
        1. Elizabeth C Crowne
        1. Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, United Kingdom
          1. Julian PH Shield (j.p.h.shield{at}
          1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom


            Objective: To determine which clinical measure of childhood obesity should be monitored to best reflect change in adiposity in a weight management programme and estimate the degree of change needed to be relatively certain of fat reduction.

            Subjects: 92 obese children aged 12.8 (6.9 to 18.9) years, mean BMI SDS +3.38 (+2.27 to +4.47) attending a hospital based clinic on a regular, 3 monthly basis.

            Measurements: Pairs of weight and height measured up to 2.41 years apart used to derive BMI as kg/m2, and adjusted for age and gender to give Weight and BMI Standard Deviation Score (SDS) (BMI-z score) using British 1990 Growth Reference Data. Contemporous adiposity estimated by fatness measured by Tanita Bioimpedance segmental body composition analyser (BC- 418MA).

            Results: Changes in BMI-z scores, compared to BMI, weight and weight SDS, most accurately reflected loss of fat. Reductions of 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1 BMI SDS equate to expected mean falls in total body fat percentage of 2.9%, 5.8%, 8.7% and 11.6%. Approximate 95% prediction intervals indicated that a fall in BMI SDS of at least 0.6 over 6-12 months (or 0.5 over 0-6 months) is consistent with actual fat loss.

            Conclusion: Change in BMI-z score best reflects percentage fat loss compared to BMI, weight and weight SDS. The wide variation in likely percentage fat loss for a given BMI SDS reduction means a loss of 0.5 to 0.6 is required to be relatively certain of definite percentage fat reduction.

            • BMI-z scores
            • adiposity
            • bio-impedance
            • obesity

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