Reference Values of Total Lean Mass, Appendicular Lean Mass, and Fat Mass Measured with Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry in a Healthy Mexican Population


The aim of this study was to develop age- and gender-specific reference values of total lean body mass (LBM), appendicular lean body mass (ALBM), and fat mass (FM) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) data in a healthy Mexican population. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted on 9518 healthy subjects 7–89 years of age participating in the baseline measurement of the Health Workers Cohort Study. Using DXA, LBM, ALBM, and FM were measured. Using these data, LBM index (LBMI), ALBM index (ALBMI), and fat mass index (FMI) were calculated. LMI, ALMI, and FMI were calculated as the LBM, ALBM, and FM kg divided by the height in meters squared. Males and females were analyzed separately; sex-specific means and standard deviations for LBM, ALBM, FM, LBMI, ALBMI, and FMI were calculated. A total of 2829 males and 6694 females were included in the final analysis. Strong sex gaps were observed after 12 years in LBM, ALBM, LBMI, and ALBMI (P < 0.01). LBM and ALBM values continue to increase for males up to age 20; females plateaued approximately after age 15. Significant sex differences were also observed for FM and FMI. Significant sex- and age-related differences exist in LBM, ALBM, and FM in the Mexican population. In addition, given the null data available in this area, these reference values may be useful in the evaluation of a variety of childhood and adult abnormalities involving lean body mass deficits, mainly in the assessment of muscle wasting, with important medical and epidemiological uses.

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The original study was supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Grants 87783, and 7876) Mexico City.


The authors’ responsibilities were as follows: Author #6 designed the study and secured funding; author #1, author #2, and author #3 conducted the research; author #2, author #4, and author #5 performed the statistical analyses; author #1 and author #2 wrote the manuscript; author #1, author #2, and author #6 critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors reviewed and commented on the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Edgar Denova-Gutiérrez.

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Conflicts of Interest

Patricia Clark, Edgar Denova-Gutiérrez, Regina Ambrosi, Pawel Szulc, Rodolfo Rivas, and Jorge Salmerón declare that there is no conflict of interest in submitting this manuscript for publication.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This study was managed according to the Declaration of Helsinki guidelines. The ethics committees of all participating institutions [Comité de Ética e Investigación, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (No. 12CEI0900614); Comité de Ética e Investigación, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (No.13CEI1700736); Comité de Ética, Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Médicas (No.1233008X0236)] reviewed and approved the study protocol and informed consent forms.

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Clark, P., Denova-Gutiérrez, E., Ambrosi, R. et al. Reference Values of Total Lean Mass, Appendicular Lean Mass, and Fat Mass Measured with Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry in a Healthy Mexican Population. Calcif Tissue Int 99, 462–471 (2016).

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  • Reference values
  • Lean body mass
  • Appendicular lean body mass
  • Fat mass
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Health Workers Cohort Study
  • Mexican population