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Vol. 56, No. 1, 2010
Issue release date: February 2010
Ann Nutr Metab 2010;56:36–44

Ultrasound Measurement of Total Body Fat in Obese Adolescents

Pineau J.-C. · Lalys L. · Bocquet M. · Guihard-Costa A.-M. · Polak M. · Frelut M.-L. · Peres G. · Dabbas-Tyan M.
aUPR 2147 CNRS, Dynamique de l’évolution humaine, bLM3, CNRS, UMR 8006, ENSAM, cU 845, INSERM, EMI 363, Hôpital Necker, Enfants Malades, dCHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Physiologie du sport, and eEndocrinologie pédiatrique, Saint-Vincent de Paul, Paris, France

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Background/Aims: To compare body fat (BF) measurements obtained with a new ultrasound method with those assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) in obese adolescents. Methods: In 94 adolescents (57 females and 37 males) aged 12–19 years and body mass index (BMI) exceeding 30 kg·m–2, the z-score BMI for age was 6.7 (adolescent girls) and 6.6 (adolescent boys) >97th percentile. BF was measured using DEXA and a method based on ultrasound measurements, body weight, height, abdominal circumference and mid-thigh circumference. Results: Obesity class I was noted in 39%, II in 28% and III in 33% of the patients. BF by ultrasound correlated closely with BF by DEXA, in both females (r = 0.958) and males (r = 0.981), with standard errors of the estimates (SEE) being 2.9 and 2.5 kg, respectively. The ultrasound method was more accurate than the skinfold technique (n = 24; SEE: 2.2 vs. 6.5 kg, respectively). In 13 adolescents who had marked weight loss after 6 months of treatment, the decrease in DEXA-measured BF correlated closely with the decrease in ultrasound-measured BF (r = 0.95). Conclusions: Our innovative portable ultrasound technique has advantages in terms of reliability, reproducibility, accuracy and costs for screening and monitoring obese adolescents. A patent application has been submitted. Our method should prove valuable for epidemiological studies.

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