Whole-Body Computed Tomography–Based Body Mass and Body Fat Quantification: A Comparison to Hydrostatic Weighing and Air Displacement Plethysmography

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We correlate and evaluate the accuracy of accepted anthropometric methods of percent body fat (%BF) quantification, namely, hydrostatic weighing (HW) and air displacement plethysmography (ADP), to 2 automatic adipose tissue quantification methods using computed tomography (CT).


Twenty volunteer subjects (14 men, 6 women) received head-to-toe CT scans. Hydrostatic weighing and ADP were obtained from 17 and 12 subjects, respectively. The CT data underwent conversion using 2 separate algorithms, namely, the Schneider method and the Beam method, to convert Hounsfield units to their respective tissue densities. The overall mass and %BF of both methods were compared with HW and ADP.


When comparing ADP to CT data using the Schneider method and Beam method, correlations were r = 0.9806 and 0.9804, respectively. Paired t tests indicated there were no statistically significant biases. Additionally, observed average differences in %BF between ADP and the Schneider method and the Beam method were 0.38% and 0.77%, respectively. The %BF measured from ADP, the Schneider method, and the Beam method all had significantly higher mean differences when compared with HW (3.05%, 2.32%, and 1.94%, respectively).


We have shown that total body mass correlates remarkably well with both the Schneider method and Beam method of mass quantification. Furthermore, %BF calculated with the Schneider method and Beam method CT algorithms correlates remarkably well with ADP. The application of these CT algorithms have utility in further research to accurately stratify risk factors with periorgan, visceral, and subcutaneous types of adipose tissue, and has the potential for significant clinical application.

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