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17-01-2012 | Diabetes | Article

Body fat percentage calculator may improve CVD, diabetes risk prediction


Free abstract

MedWire News: A new prediction equation for estimating body fat percentage (BF%) seems to be an accurate screening tool for identifying patients at adiposity-related cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes risk, suggest study findings.

The Clinica Universidad de Navarra-Body Adiposity Estimator (CUN-BAE) equation calculated body fat percentage (BF%) more accurately than any other anthropometric variable or BF% estimator in a large cohort of individuals with a wide range of adiposities, BF%s, and ages.

Javier Gomez-Ambrosi (Clinica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain) and team conducted a comparison study of the CUN-BAE equation with other commonly used anthropometric indices in 6510 individuals (2154 men and 4356 women), aged 18-80 years. Actual body density was estimated using air displacement plethysmography (ADP).

As reported in the journal Diabetes Care, the mean BF% of the total population was 39.9% when determined by ADP (34.4% in men; 42.7% in women) and 39.3% when estimated by the CUN-BAE (33.8% in men; 42.0% in women).

Of the BF% estimators tested, BF% calculated by the CUN-BAE showed the highest correlation with actual BF%, followed by waist-to-height ratio, and the Rohrer index, at correlation coefficients of 0.89, 0.76, and 0.76, respectively.

Of note, the widely used adiposity measure BMI had a correlation coefficient of 0.70.

In a separate validation cohort of 1149 individuals, BF% estimated by CUN-BAE was more highly correlated with actual BF% than BMI was in both men and women, at correlation coefficients of 0.85 versus 0.83 and 0.90 versus 0.84, respectively.

An advantage of estimating BF% by CUN-BAE is that gender differences in BMI are accounted for by the equation, writes the team.

Further subgroup analysis revealed that BF% estimated with the CUN-BAE was better correlated with systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol than was BMI in both men and women. It was also more highly correlated with homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance than was waist circumference in both genders.

"We herein show that CUN-BAE may estimate BF% with a good accuracy, providing a useful tool in epidemiologic and clinical studies without access to specialized body composition measurements to analyze adiposity-related cardiometabolic risks," say the researchers.

"Furthermore, our equation may be a useful clinical tool for identifying patients with increased cardiovascular and Type 2 diabetes risk," they add.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Sally Robertson