Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is a relatively new method of assessing body composition in humans. In the current study, DEXA was analyzed for accuracy and precision by using both anthropomorphic phantoms and a combination of body composition techniques in humans. Satisfactory precision for measurement of total body fat, fat-free mass, and total body bone mineral could be demonstrated in vivo and in vitro. Predictions of lean body mass in humans on the basis of DEXA, total body water, and total body potassium were significantly different. The results of multiple regression analysis suggested that a component of total body water was related to body potassium, and another component was predicted by body fat. In addition, extracellular fluid volume, as measured by the bromide space technique, was significantly associated with both fat-free mass and fat mass as measured by DEXA. These findings have implications for the interpretation of body composition data in humans.
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