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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 148696, 14 pages
Review Article

A PRISMA-Driven Systematic Review of Predictive Equations for Assessing Fat and Fat-Free Mass in Healthy Children and Adolescents Using Multicomponent Molecular Models as the Reference Method

1Exercise and Health Laboratory, CIPER, Fac Motricidade Humana, Univ Tecn Lisboa, 1499-002 Cruz Quebrada, Portugal
2Department of Pediatrics, CMRI Metabolic Research Program, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

Received 27 January 2013; Revised 9 April 2013; Accepted 30 April 2013

Academic Editor: Diana Thomas

Copyright © 2013 Analiza M. Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Simple methods to assess both fat (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) are required in paediatric populations. Several bioelectrical impedance instruments (BIAs) and anthropometric equations have been developed using different criterion methods (multicomponent models) for assessing FM and FFM. Through childhood, FFM density increases while FFM hydration decreases until reaching adult values. Therefore, multicomponent models should be used as the gold standard method for developing simple techniques because two-compartment models (2C model) rely on the assumed adult values of FFM density and hydration (1.1 g/cm3 and 73.2%, respectively). This study will review BIA and/or anthropometric-based equations for assessing body composition in paediatric populations. We reviewed English language articles from MEDLINE (1985–2012) with the selection of predictive equations developed for assessing FM and FFM using three-compartment (3C) and 4C models as criterion. Search terms included children, adolescent, childhood, adolescence, 4C model, 3C model, multicomponent model, equation, prediction, DXA, BIA, resistance, anthropometry, skinfold, FM, and FFM. A total of 14 studies (33 equations) were selected with the majority developed using DXA as the criterion method with a limited number of studies providing cross-validation results. Overall, the selected equations are useful for epidemiological studies, but some concerns still arise on an individual basis.