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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Special Communications: Methods

Anthropometry and bioelectrical impedance inconsistently predicts fatness in women with regional adiposity


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Anthropometry and bioelectrical impedance inconsistently predicts fatness in women with regional adiposity. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 7, pp. 1068-1075, 1999.

Purpose: This investigation examined the accuracy of several generalizable anthropometric (ANTHRO) and bioelectrical impedance (BIA) regression equations to estimate % body fat (%BF) in women with either upper body (UB) or lower body (LB) fat distribution patterns.

Methods: Thirty-six premenopausal women were individually matched for age (X̄ = 38.6 ± 6.6 yr), BMI (X̄ = 25.5 ± 4.2 kg·m−2) and %BF (30.3 ± 8.1%; hydrostatic, [UWW]) and placed by waist to hip ratio (WHR) into two distinct groups: LB (N = 18; WHR ≤ 0.73) and UB (N = 18; WHR ≥ 0.80). Equations tested were ANTHRO: Jackson et al. (JPW-7 and 3 site), 1980; Durnin and Womersley (DW), 1974; Tran and Weltman (TW), 1989; and Vogel et al. (V), 1988; BIA: Lohman (L), 1992; Gray et al. (G), 1989; and VanLoan and Mayclin (VLM), 1987. Circumference and skinfold measures were made by a trained technician. BIA (Vallhalla, 1990B) measures were taken 4 h postprandially under controlled conditions of water intake and exercise. %BF by UWW (criterion) was not different between groups (UB = 30.8 ± 8.2%; LB = 29.7 ± 8%).

Results: In the UB group, three of five ANTHRO equations significantly overestimated %BF by approximately 6% (range = 3-8%) as compared with UWW. BIA overestimated %BF in UB by 5% using G and in both groups by about 6% using VLM, whereas L underestimated %BF in LB by about 4%.

Conclusion: We conclude that ANTHRO and some BIA equations are accurate for predicting %BF in LB fat "shaped" women but are not appropriate for women with primarily abdominal fat patterning.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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