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Measurement of body fat using leg to leg bioimpedance


AIMS (1) To validate a leg to leg bioimpedance analysis (BIA) device in the measurement of body composition in children by assessment of its agreement with dual energyx ray absorptiometry (DXA) and its repeatability. (2) To establish a reference range of percentage body fat in Hong Kong Chinese children.

METHODS Sequential BIA and DXA methods were used to determine body composition in 49 children aged 7–18 years; agreement between the two methods was calculated. Repeatability for the BIA method was established from duplicate measurements. Body composition was then determined by BIA in 1139 girls and 1243 boys aged 7–16 years, who were randomly sampled in eight local primary and secondary schools to establish reference ranges.

RESULTS The 95% limits of agreement between BIA and DXA methods were considered acceptable (−3.3 kg to −0.5 kg fat mass and −3.9 to 0.6% body fat). The percentage body fat increased with increasing age. Compared to the 1993 Hong Kong growth survey, these children had higher body mass index. Mean (SD) percentage body fat at 7 years of age was 17.2% (4.4%) and 14.0% (3.4%) respectively for boys and girls, which increased to 19.3% (4.8%) and 27.8% (6.3%) at age 16.

CONCLUSION Leg to leg BIA is a valid alternative method to DXA for the measurement of body fat. Provisional reference ranges for percentage body fat for Hong Kong Chinese children aged 7–16 years are provided.

  • bioimpedance
  • body mass index
  • body fat

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