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Asian J Sports Med. 2012 September; 3(3): 200–203.
PMCID: PMC3445648

The Estimation of the Fat Free Mass Index in Athletes

Jeremy P. Loenneke, MSc,1,2,3,4,5,* Jacob M. Wilson, PhD,1,2,3,4,5 Mandy E. Wray, MSc,1,2,3,4,5 Jeremy T. Barnes, PhD,1,2,3,4,5 Monica L. Kearney, MS,1,2,3,4,5 and Thomas J. Pujol, EdD1,2,3,4,5

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this investigation was to compare a practical measurement of fat free mass index (FFMI) from bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) value in collegiate athletes.

Methods

Thirty-three male baseball players and 16 female gymnasts volunteered to participate in this study during their respective pre-season. Subjects visited the laboratory once and had their measurements taken in the following order: weight, height, DEXA, and Omron HBF-500.

Results

The BIA device investigated was not a valid estimate of FFMI when compared to the DEXA. The TE was 0.93 kg/ m2 for males and 0.78 kg/ m2 for females. There were also significant mean differences between the BIA prediction and the DEXA value for males (BIA=20.6 kg/m2 vs. DEXA=21.1 kg/m2, P=0.007) and females (BIA=16.2 kg/m2 vs. DEXA=17.5 kg/m2, P=0.001).

Conclusions

The BIA device investigated in this study did not provide a valid estimate of FFMI in male and female collegiate athletes. Although there was a general tendency for the BIA to underestimate FFMI compared to DEXA, 98% of the estimates were within plus or minus 2 kg/ m2. Therefore, while slightly biased, BIA may provide a reasonable (± 2 kg/ m2) estimate of nutritional status for practitioners who are unable able to afford more expensive equipment.

Keywords: Body Mass Index, Body Fat, Sports, Fat Free Mass, Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, DEXA Scan

Articles from Asian Journal of Sports Medicine are provided here courtesy of Kowsar Medical Institute