Measures of body fat in South Asian adults Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: South Asian people who originate from the Indian subcontinent have greater percent body fat (%BF) for the same body mass index (BMI) compared with white Caucasians. This has been implicated in their increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There is limited information comparing different measures of body fat in this ethnic group. OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were: (1) to investigate the correlation of %BF measured by a foot-to-foot bioelectrical impedance analysis (FF-BIA) against the BOD POD, a method of air-displacement plethysmography, and (2) to determine the correlations of simple anthropometric measures, (that is, BMI, body adiposity index (BAI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)) against the BOD POD measure of body fat. METHODS: Eighty apparently healthy South Asian men and women were recruited from the community, and measurements of height, weight, WC, HC and body composition using Tanita FF-BIA and BOD POD were taken. RESULTS: The mean±s.d. age of participants was 27.78±10.49 years, 42.5% were women, and the mean BMI was 22.68±3.51 kg m(-2). The mean body fat (%BF) calculated by FF-BIA and BOD POD was 21.94±7.88% and 26.20±8.47%, respectively. The %BF calculated by FF-BIA was highly correlated with the BOD POD (Pearson's r=0.83, P<0.001), however, FF-BIA underestimated %BF by 4.3%. When anthropometric measures were compared with % BF by BOD POD, the BAI showed the strongest correlation (r=0.74) and the WHR showed the weakest (r=0.33). BAI generally underestimated %BF by 2.6% in comparison with %BF by BOD POD. The correlations of BOD POD with other measures of %BF were much stronger in subjects with a BMI >21 kg m(-2) than those with a BMI 21 kg m(-2). CONCLUSION: The FF-BIA and BAI estimates of %BF are highly correlated with that of BOD POD among people of South Asian origin, although both methods somewhat underestimate % BF. Furthermore, their correlations with % BF from BOD POD are significantly weakened among men and women with a BMI 21 kg m(-2).

publication date

  • May 2013