Agreement Between Standard Body Composition Methods to Estimate Percentage of Body Fat in Young Male Athletes

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Purpose: To examine the intermethods agreement of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and foot-to-foot bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to assess the percentage of body fat (%BF) in young male athletes using air-displacement plethysmography (ADP) as the reference method. Methods: Standard measurement protocols were carried out in 104 athletes (40 swimmers, 37 footballers, and 27 cyclists, aged 12–14 y). Results: Age-adjusted %BF ADP and %BF BIA were significantly higher in swimmers than footballers. ADP correlates better with DXA than with BIA (r = .84 vs r = .60, P < .001). %BF was lower when measured by DXA and BIA than ADP (P < .001), and the bias was higher when comparing ADP versus BIA than ADP versus DXA. The intraclass correlation coefficients between DXA and ADP showed a good to excellent agreement (r = .67–.79), though it was poor when BIA was compared with ADP (r = .26–.49). The ranges of agreement were wider when comparing BIA with ADP than DXA with ADP. Conclusion: DXA and BIA seem to underestimate %BF in young male athletes compared with ADP. Furthermore, the bias significantly increases with %BF in the BIA measurements. At the individual level, BIA and DXA do not seem to predict %BF precisely compared with ADP in young athletic populations.

Ferri-Morales and Torres-Costoso are with the School of Nursing and Physiotherapy, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain. Ferri-Morales, Torres-Costoso, and Martínez-Vizcaino are with the Health and Social Research Center, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca, Spain. Nascimento-Ferreira and De Moraes are with the Youth/Child and Cardiovascular Risk and Environmental (YCARE) Research Group, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Nascimento-Ferreira, Moreno, and Gracia-Marco are with the Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development (GENUD) Research Group, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain. Vlachopoulos, Ubago-Guisado, Barker, and Gracia-Marco are with the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom. Ubago-Guisado is also with the IGOID Research Group, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain. De Moraes is also with the Dept. of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Moreno is also with the Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Aragón (IIS Aragón), and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERObn), Zaragoza, Spain. Martínez-Vizcaino is also with the Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Talca, Chile. Gracia-Marco is also with the PROFITH “PROmoting FITness and Health through physical activity” Research Group, Dept. of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Spain.

Address author correspondence to Luis Gracia-Marco at lgracia@ugr.es.
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