Validity of the methods to assess body fat in children and adolescents using multi-compartment models as the reference method: a systematic review.
BACKGROUND Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) provides separate measurements of fat mass, fat-free mass and bone mass, and is a quick, accurate, and safe technique, yet one that is not readily available in routine clinical practice. Consequently, we aimed to develop statistical formulas to predict fat mass (%) and fat mass index (FMI) with simple parameters (age, sex, weight and height). METHODS We conducted a retrospective observational cross-sectional study in 416 overweight or obese patients aged 4-18 years that involved assessing adiposity by DXA (fat mass percentage and FMI), body mass index (BMI), sex and age. We randomly divided the sample into two parts (construction and validation). In the construction sample, we developed formulas to predict fat mass and FMI using linear multiple regression models. The formulas were validated in the other sample, calculating the intraclass correlation coefficient via bootstrapping. RESULTS The fat mass percentage formula had a coefficient of determination of 0.65. This value was 0.86 for FMI. In the validation, the constructed formulas had an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.77 for fat mass percentage and 0.92 for FMI. CONCLUSIONS Our predictive formulas accurately predicted fat mass and FMI with simple parameters (BMI, sex and age) in children with overweight and obesity. The proposed methodology could be applied in other fields. Further studies are needed to externally validate these formulas.