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Body composition, energy expenditure and physical activity

Evaluation of simple body composition methods: assessment of validity in prepubertal Chilean children

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The aim of this study was to assess the validity of body fatness estimations based on skinfolds and bioelectrical iImpedance analyses (BIA) measurements compared to a three-component model (3C model) in prepubertal Chilean children, considering potential differences by sex and nutritional status.


Four hundred and twenty four Chilean children (198 females and 226 males) were assessed for body composition. Body fat percentage (BF%) was evaluated by Skinfold equations (Slaughter, Ramirez and Huang) and Bioelectrical impedance (BIA: Tanita BC-418MA) using both the equipment and the Ramirez equation. Measurements based on a 3C model constructed from total body water estimates by isotope dilution and from body volume estimates by air displacement plethysmography were used as gold standard.


Coefficient of determination (R2) values were higher in overweight and in the whole group of both gender. All slopes were differed significantly from 1, and most intercepts were significantly different from 0. Skinfold Equations: an underestimation of BF% was found for all equations, being higher with the Slaughter equation. BIA: Tanita underestimated BF% in all groups, whereas Ramirez equation shows an overestimation.


Skinfolds and bio-impedance equations serve well to rank children according to their BF%. However, these methods are not accurate for describing body composition in prepubertal Chilean children.

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This work was supported by the Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de Chile (Fondecyt), Grant # 1090252, 1100206.

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Correspondence to R E Uauy.

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Aguirre, C., Salazar, G., Lopez de Romaña, D. et al. Evaluation of simple body composition methods: assessment of validity in prepubertal Chilean children. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 269–273 (2015).

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