Original Research

Validation of predictive equations against DXA for estimation of body fat composition in Vietnamese children


Background: Childhood overweight and obesity are becoming more pronounced in Vietnam, so an assessment tool of high efficiency in the community is warranted. This study sought to validate skinfold thickness (SFT) equations for estimation of body fatness by Goran and Slaughter against DXA to aid in assessing obesity.

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 144 healthy children (ages 6-17) who were conveniently sampled from schools within an urban district. Their anthropometric measurements (height, weight, and SFT) and DXA whole-body results were taken to record body fat percentage (BF%). Bland-Altman analysis and correlation between bias and body fat were employed to understand the agreement between results from each equation and DXA whole body.

Result: BF% was 32.2 ± 7.6% (mean ± SD). 52.8% of the children were overweight or obese. Bland-Altman plots showed that all four SFT equations had wide limits of agreement (LOAs) and largely underestimated the reference BF% by up to 8.90%. Goran equation predicted better when BF% decreased, whereas Slaughter equations produced less bias when there was more body fat.

Conclusion: The prevalence rate of overweight and obesity has become alarming. Besides, Goran and Slaughter equations cannot be used as alternatives for DXA scanning to measure body fat due to their underestimation.

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