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Comparison of body fatness measurements by near-infrared reactance and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in normal-weight and obese black and white women

  • Courtney L. Jennings (a1), Lisa K. Micklesfield (a1) (a2), Mike I. Lambert (a1), Estelle V. Lambert (a1), Malcolm Collins (a1) (a3) and Julia H. Goedecke (a1) (a3)...

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to compare body fat percent (BF %) using single-site near-IR reactance (NIR) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in a cohort of normal-weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2) black (n 102) and white (n 71); and obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) black (n 117) and white (n 41) South African women (18–45 years). NIR-derived BF % was significantly correlated with DXA-derived BF % in all groups: normal-weight black (r 0·55, 95 % CI: 0·40, 0·67, P < 0·001) and white (r 0·69, 95 % CI: 0·53, 0·79, P < 0·001) women; obese black (r 0·59, 95 % CI: 0·46, 0·70, P < 0·001) and white (r 0·56, 95 % CI: 0·30, 0·74, P < 0·001) women. NIR under-predicted BF% compared to DXA in black women (normal-weight, − 4·36 (sd 4·13) % and obese, − 3·41 (sd 3·72) %), while smaller mean differences were observed in white women (normal-weight, − 0·29 (sd 4·19) % and obese, − 0·81 (sd 3·09) %), irrespective of normal-weight or obese status (P < 0·001). In obese subjects, NIR-derived BF % did not measure values greater than approximately 45 %, while the maximum DXA-derived measure was 58 %. In conclusion, although there was a significant relationship between NIR- and DXA-derived BF %, NIR under-predicted BF % in normal-weight and obese black South African women compared to DXA, but to a greater extent in subjects with very high levels of adiposity (>45 %). The results of single-site NIR as a measure of BF % should therefore be interpreted with caution, particularly in women of African descent and in those with very high levels of adiposity.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr Julia H. Goedecke, fax +27 21 686 7530, email Julia.goedecke@uct.ac.za

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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
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