Few studies have been conducted to measure body composition in Asian populations. In this study, we determined the percent body fat (PBF) by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), air-displacement plethysmography (ADP or BOD POD), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and skinfold (SKF) in 445 healthy Singaporean adults. We observed that the BOD POD, BIA and SKF estimates of PBF were highly correlated with that from DEXA (as a reference method) among Singaporean adults. However, they all underestimated PBF (differences of 3.9% for BOD POD, 5.6% for BIA and 12.5% for SKF). Our results filled a gap in the literature by testing the relationships between DEXA and BOD POD, BIA and SKF in a large sample with a wide range of body mass index (BMI) from 16.1 to 37.5 kg/m2
and age from 21 to 69.2 years. The differences of PBF measured by different methods were dependent on age, gender and ethnicity. No significant difference was observed between DEXA and BOD POD in men aged > 40 or in BMI tertile 3. However, the mean difference between DEXA and BOD POD was significant in women. Different measuring methods of estimating PBF therefore must be cautiously interpreted.
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