Although body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) are fairly acceptable tools for description of population body fat content, they performed weakly when applied to a given individual, especially in certain ethnic groups. Quantification of percentage of body fat (PBF) along with knowledge of its distribution is expected to provide advantage in earlier recognition of metabolic derangements, which resulted from adverse systemic effects of adipose tissue products. Recently, a new device based on bioimpedance assay (BIA), Omron HBF306, allowing the determining of PBF became available and is very attractive due to portability, ease of use, and low cost. We enrolled 100 young healthy subjects, female:male ratio 53:47, average age 23 years, and BMI of 24 kg/m2, who were studied on three separate occasions. Anthropometric and instrumental test parameters were assessed by a trained specialist and included weight, height, BMI, WC, BIA, and dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Correlation of WC and BMI with PBF from DXA showed an average r of .14 and .38, respectively. Results of correlation of PBF values between BIA and DXA showed an r value of .99 for Asian, .92 for Caucasian, .69 for African American, and .66 for Native American groups. Study results indicate poor predictive value of WC and BMI in quantifications of PBF; BIA offered much higher accuracy, although trends toward substantial variations of PBF in different ethnic groups were present. Powered studies aiming at populations with different ethnic make-up and correlating with established “gold standards” are needed as the demand for the inexpensive BIA devices is on the rise.
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