Background and Aims: Assessment of adiposity using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has been considered more advantageous in comparison to anthropometryfor predicting cardio-metabolic risk in the older population, by virtue of its ability to distinguish total and regional fat. Nonetheless, there is increasing uncertainty regarding the relative superiority of DXA and little comparative data exist in young adults. This study aimed to identify which measure of adiposity determined by either DXA or anthropometry is optimal within a range of cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults.

Methods and Results: 1138 adults aged 20 years were assessed by DXA and standard anthropometry from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Cross-sectional linear regression analyses were performed. Waist to height ratio was superior to any DXA measure with HDL-C. BMI was the superior model in relation to blood pressure than any DXA measure. Midriff fat mass (DXA) and waist circumference were comparable in relation to glucose. For all the other cardio-metabolic variables, anthropometricand DXA measures were comparable. DXA midriff fat mass compared with BMI or waist hip ratio was the superior measure for triglycerides, insulin and HOMA-IR.

Conclusion: Although midriff fat mass (measured by DXA) was the superior measure with insulin sensitivity and triglycerides, the anthropometricmeasures were better or equal with various DXA measures for majority of the cardio-metabolic risk factors. Our findings suggest, clinical anthropometry is generally as useful as DXA in the evaluation of the individual cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults.


fats, adipose tissue, insulin, young adults, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI)

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