The Validity of Relative Fat Mass and Body Adiposity Index as Measures of Body Composition in Healthy Adults

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Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science


Higher relative adiposity is independently associated with adverse health consequences. As such, accurate estimates of body composition in field settings are of utmost importance. The aim of this study was to examine the validity of the Body Adiposity Index (BAI) and Relative Fat Mass (RFM) as measures of total body adiposity. BAI and RFM were assessed in young adults (n = 188, 48.4% female, 21.8 ± 4.8 years, 24.4 ± 4.6 kg/m2). Adiposity was assessed using the 4C model (%Fat4C) and derived from underwater weighing for body density, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for bone mineral content, and bioimpedance spectroscopy for total body water. Bivariate correlations between BAI, RFM, and %Fat4C were assessed using Pearson’s r. Differences between measures were assessed using a repeated-measures ANOVA. BAI and RFM were associated with %Fat4C (r = 0.668 and 0.827 respectively, both p < .001). BAI and RFM overestimated %Fat4C (+4.3 ± 6.1 versus +4.3 ± 4.6, respectively, p < .001). The large error limits the practical utility of these anthropometric indices. Abbreviation: ANOVA: Analysis of Variance; BAI: Body Adiposity Index; BM: Body Mass; BMI: Body Mass Index; CM: centimeter; DXA: Dual X-ray Absorptiometry; HC: Hip Circumference; KG: kilogram; RFM: Relative Fat Mass; SPSS: Statistical Package for the Social Sciencesp; WC: Waist Circumference; %Fat: Body Composition.

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