Reference standards for body fat measures using GE dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in Caucasian adults

Mary T. Imboden, Whitney Allegra Welch, Ann M. Swartz, Alexander H.K. Montoye, Holmes W. Finch, Matthew P. Harber, Leonard A. Kaminsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is an established technique for the measurement of body composition. Reference values for these variables, particularly those related to fat mass, are necessary for interpretation and accurate classification of those at risk for obesity-related health complications and in need of lifestyle modifications (diet, physical activity, etc.). Currently, there are no reference values available for GE-Healthcare DXA systems and it is known that whole-body and regional fat mass measures differ by DXA manufacturer. Objective: To develop reference values by age and sex for DXA-derived fat mass measurements with GE-Healthcare systems. Methods: A de-identified sample of 3,327 participants (2,076 women, 1,251 men) was obtained from Ball State University's Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Physical Activity & Health Research Laboratory. All scans were completed using a GE Lunar Prodigy or iDXA and data reported included percent body fat (%BF), fat mass index (FMI), and ratios of android-to-gynoid (A/G), trunk/limb, and trunk/leg fat measurements. Percentiles were calculated and a factorial ANOVA was used to determine differences in the mean values for each variable between age and sex. Results: Normative reference values for fat mass variables from DXA measurements obtained from GE-Healthcare DXA systems are presented as percentiles for both women and men in 10-year age groups. Women had higher (p<0.01) mean %BF and FMI than men, whereas men had higher (p<0.01) mean ratios of A/G, trunk/limb, and trunk/leg fat measurements than women. Conclusion: These reference values provide clinicians and researchers with a resource for interpretation of DXA-derived fat mass measurements specific to use with GE-Healthcare DXA systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0175110
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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