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Estimation of abdominal fat mass: validity of abdominal bioelectrical impedance analysis and a new model based on anthropometry compared with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry

Manios, Yannis PhD1; Kanellakis, Spyridon MSc1; Moschonis, George MSc1; Pipidis, Ilias BSc2; Skoufas, Efstathios BSc2; Zafiropulos, Vassilis PhD2

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31828f5cd8
Brief Report

Objective Since abdominal adiposity has been associated with increased risk for chronic diseases, valid and low cost methods to estimate it are needed for clinical and research purposes. The aim of the current study was to develop and validate, using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) as reference method, a model that estimates abdominal fat mass percentage (AFM%) in white postmenopausal women based on simple and easy-to-apply anthropometric measurements. An additional aim was to validate an abdominal bioelectrical impedance analyzer (ViScan) for estimating waist circumference (WC) and AFM% in this group.

Methods Ninety-one postmenopausal women (mean age, 61.5 y) with body mass index ranging from 20.9 to 42 kg/m2 were randomly divided into one training set (n = 60) and one testing set (n = 31) to develop and validate a model based on anthropometric measurements estimating abdominal fat mass. Furthermore, in all 91 participants, ViScan estimations of WC and AFM% were validated against tape measurement and DXA results.

Results The model developed was AFM% = 4.496 + (0.318 × WC) + 0.342 × suprailiac skinfold (r = 0.834, P < 0.0001). The model had no significant bias (0.25%) and ±7.5% limits of agreement. ViScan significantly overestimated WC by 7.04 cm and estimated AFM% with no significant bias (−0.13%) and ±7.6% limits of agreement.

Conclusions Both the model and ViScan are equally valid against DXA in estimating AFM%. However, ViScan is not valid in estimating WC in white postmenopausal women.

From the 1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece; and 2Laboratory of Body Composition, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, 72 300, Sitia, Greece.

Received September 21, 2012; revised and accepted February 26, 2013.

Funding/support: This research was cofinanced by the European Union (European Social Fund) and Greek National Funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework Research Funding Program “Heracleitus II: investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund.”

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Yannis Manios, PhD, Harokopio University, 70, El. Venizelou, Kallithea 17671, Athens, Greece. E-mail:

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.