Estimation of visceral fat in 9- to 13-year-old girls using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and anthropometry

V. Lee, R. Blew, M. Hetherington-Rauth, D. Blew, J. P. Galons, T. Hagio, J. Bea, T. Lohman, S. Going

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Accumulation of visceral fat (VF) in children increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and measurement of VF in children using computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is expensive. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) may provide a low-cost alternative. This study aims to determine if DXA VF estimates can accurately estimate VF in young girls, determine if adding anthropometry would improve the estimate and determine if other DXA fat measures, with and without anthropometry, could be used to estimate VF in young girls. Methods: Visceral fat was measured at lumbar intervertebral sites (L1–L2, L2–L3, L3–L4 and L4–L5) using 3.0T MRI on 32 young girls (mean age 11.3 ± 1.3 years). VF was estimated using the GE CoreScan application. Measurement of DXA android and total body fat was performed. Weight, height and waist circumference (WC) measurements were also obtained. Results: Waist circumference and body mass index were both strongly correlated with MRI, although WC was the best anthropometric covariate. Per cent fat (%fat) variables had the strongest correlation and did best in regression models. DXA %VF (GE CoreScan) and DXA android %fat and total body %fat accounted for 65% to 74% of the variation in MRI VF. Conclusion: Waist circumference predicted MRI VF almost as well as DXA estimates in this population, and a combination of WC and DXA fat improves the predictability of VF. DXA VF estimate was improved by the addition of WC; however, DXA android %fat with WC was better at predicting MRI VF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-447
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Science and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Imaging
  • Obesity
  • Paediatric
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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