Skip to main content

Assessing body fatness in obese children and adolescents: alternative methods to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 — Poster Session III

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center




  • D. Colley
  • B. Cines
  • N. Current
  • C. Schulman
  • S. Bernstein
  • A.B. Courville
  • K.L. Zambell
  • J. Yanovski


Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the “gold standard” method for body composition assessment. The purpose of this study was to identify practical alternatives to DXA for the assessment of body fatness in obese pediatric samples. Baseline data from a randomized controlled trial (n=169) was examined. Subjects were Non-Hispanic White and African American children and adolescents (aged 12-17y) with body mass index >95th percentile-for-age and at least one obesity-related comorbidity. Neck circumference (NC), thigh circumference (TC), pediatric body adiposity index (BAIp), and bioelectrical impedance analysis (Impedance) were compared to percent total body fat (%BF) from DXA. Statistical analyses included correlations and Bland-Altman analyses of agreement. No correlation was found between NC and DXA %BF. There was a moderate correlation between DXA %BF and TC for females but not for males. BAIp and Impedance equations were positively correlated with DXA %BF across all subjects. In Bland-Altman analyses, the mean difference + 2SD was -0.53 + 12.2 %BF between BAIp and DXA and 13.09 + 8.54 %BF between Impedance and DXA. While Impedance overestimated %BF, the difference compared to DXA had the least bias. Therefore, Impedance may be a less expensive and easier alternative for assessing body fatness in obese pediatric populations.

back to top