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Body composition indexes of a load-capacity model: Gender- and BMI-specific reference curves Open Access


Author or creator
Siervo, Mario
Prado, Carla M.
Mire, Emily
Broyles, Stephanie
Wells, Jonathan C. K.
Heymsfield, Steven B.
Katzmarzyk, Peter T.
Additional contributors
Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry
Reference Curves
Appendicular Skeletal Mass
Fat Mass
Truncal Fat Mass
Fat-Free Mass
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) are frequently measured to define body composition phenotypes. The load–capacity model integrates the effects of both FM and FFM to improve disease-risk prediction. We aimed to derive age-, gender- and BMI-specific reference curves of load–capacity model indices in an adult population (≥18 years). Cross-sectional study. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure FM, FFM, appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM) and truncal fat mass (TrFM). Two metabolic load–capacity indices were calculated: ratio of FM (kg) to FFM (kg) and ratio of TrFM (kg) to ASM (kg). Age-standardised reference curves, stratified by gender and BMI (<25·0 kg/m2, 25·0–29·9 kg/m2, ≥30·0 kg/m2), were constructed using an LMS approach. Percentiles of the reference curves were 5th, 15th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 85th and 95th. Secondary analysis of data from the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The population included 6580 females and 6656 males. The unweighted proportions of obesity in males and females were 25·5 % and 34·7 %, respectively. The average values of both FM:FFM and TrFM:ASM were greater in female and obese subjects. Gender and BMI influenced the shape of the association of age with FM:FFM and TrFM:ASM, as a curvilinear relationship was observed in female and obese subjects. Menopause appeared to modify the steepness of the reference curves of both indices. This is a novel risk-stratification approach integrating the effects of high adiposity and low muscle mass which may be particularly useful to identify cases of sarcopenic obesity and improve disease-risk prediction.
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© The Authors 2014

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Siervo, M., Prado, C. M., Mire, E., Broyles, S., Wells, J. C. K., Heymsfield, S. B., & Katzmarzyk, P. (2015). Body composition indexes of a load-capacity model: Gender- and BMI-specific reference curves. Public Health Nutrition, 18(7), 1245-1254.


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