Comparison of direct measures of adiposity with indirect measures for assessing cardiometabolic risk factors in preadolescent girls

Megan Hetherington-Rauth, Jennifer W. Bea, Vinson R. Lee, Robert M. Blew, Janet Funk, Timothy G. Lohman, Scott B. Going

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Childhood overweight and obesity remains high, contributing to cardiometabolic risk factors at younger ages. It is unclear which measures of adiposity serve as the best proxies for identifying children at metabolic risk. This study assessed whether DXA-derived direct measures of adiposity are more strongly related to cardiometabolic risk factors in children than indirect measures. Methods: Anthropometric and DXA measures of adiposity and a comprehensive assessment of cardiometabolic risk factors were obtained in 288, 9-12 year old girls, most being of Hispanic ethnicity. Multiple regression models for each metabolic parameter were run against each adiposity measure while controlling for maturation and ethnicity. In addition, regression models including both indirect and direct measures were developed to assess whether using direct measures of adiposity could provide a better prediction of the cardiometabolic risk factors beyond that of using indirect measures alone. Results: Measures of adiposity were significantly correlated with cardiometabolic risk factors (p < 0.05) except fasting glucose. After adjusting for maturation and ethnicity, indirect measures of adiposity accounted for 29-34% in HOMA-IR, 10-13% in TG, 14-17% in HDL-C, and 5-8% in LDL-C while direct measures accounted for 29-34% in HOMA-IR, 10-12% in TG, 13-16% in HDL-C, and 5-6% in LDL-C. The addition of direct measures of adiposity to indirect measures added significantly to the variance explained for HOMA-IR (p = 0.04). Conclusion: Anthropometric measures may perform as well as the more precise direct DXA-derived measures of adiposity for assessing most CVD risk factors in preadolescent girls. The use of DXA-derived adiposity measures together with indirect measures may be advantageous for predicting insulin resistance risk. Trial registration: NCT02654262. Retrospectively registered 11 January 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 23 2017


  • Body composition
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Girls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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