Detection of small changes in body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry

Scott B. Going, Michael P. Massett, Matthew C. Hall, Lisa A. Bare, Patricia A. Root, Daniel P. Williams, Timothy G. Lohman

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178 Scopus citations


The ability of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to detect small changes in body composition was studied in 17 men and women during a dehydration-rehydration protocol. Scale weight (BW) and total mass (TM) from DEXA were highly related (r > 0.99) as were estimates of fat-free mass (r = 0.99) and percent fat (r = 0.97) from DEXA and densitometry. Changes in BW of ≈1.5 kg due to fluid loss and gain were highly correlated (r = 0.90) with both changes in TM and soft-tissue mass (STM) by DEXA but less so (r = 0.67) with changes in lean-tissue mass (LTM). Mean changes in TM, STM, and LTM were not different (P > 0.05) from changes in BW. Estimates of bone mass and fat were unaffected by changes in hydration. We conclude that DEXA is able to detect small individual changes in TM and STM and is also useful for detecting group changes in LTM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-850
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • Body composition
  • Bone mineral
  • Dehydration
  • Densitometry
  • Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry
  • Fat mass
  • Lean-tissue mass
  • Rehydration
  • Total mass


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