Singapore Institute of Technology
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Body composition reference values in Singaporean adults using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry—The Yishun study

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posted on 2023-07-25, 06:34 authored by Bao Lin Pauline SohBao Lin Pauline Soh, Shuen Yee Lee, Wai Yin Wong, Benedict Wei-Jun Pang, Lay Khoon Lau, Khalid Abdul Jabbar, Wei-Ting Seah, Kexun Kenneth ChenKexun Kenneth Chen, Sivasubramanian Srinivasan, Tze Pin Ng, Shiou Liang WeeShiou Liang Wee


This study establishes age- and sex-specific reference values for fat mass index (FMI), lean mass index (LMI), appendicular LMI (aLMI), and body fat distribution indices including Android/Gynoid % fat ratio and Trunk/Limb % fat ratio in multi-ethnic Singaporean adults.


A population-based cross-sectional study using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (Hologic Discovery Wi) was carried out to measure whole body and regional fat and lean mass in community-dwelling adults. A total of 537 adults (57.5% women), aged from 21 to 90 years, were recruited from the large north-eastern residential town of Yishun. Age- and sex-specific percentile reference values were generated for FMI, LMI, aLMI, Android/Gynoid % fat ratio and Trunk/Limb % fat ratio using the Lambda–Mu–Sigma method. The relationship between the parameters and age were assessed through the Pearson’s correlation coefficient.


All parameters demonstrated significant correlation with age (p < 0.05) for both men and women, except for LMI in women, with the strength of r ranging from 0.12 (weak correlation) to 0.54 (strong correlation). LMI (r = −0.45) and appendicular LMI (r = −0.54) were negatively associated with age in men while none (r = −0.06) to weak correlation (r = −0.14) were shown in women for the same parameters respectively. The Android/Gynoid % fat ratio and Trunk/Limb % fat ratio were positively related to age for both men (r = 0.37 & 0.43, p < 0.001) and women (r = 0.52 & 0.48, p < 0.001).


We have established DXA-based body composition reference data for the Singapore adult population. These reference data will be particularly useful in geriatric, obesity and oncology clinics, enabling the prescription of appropriate therapy to individuals at risk of morbidity from unfavorable body composition phenotypes. It also adds on to the limited reference database on Southeast Asian body composition.


This research was supported by Geriatric Education and Research Institute (GERI) intramural funding - GERI 1609.


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