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Correlations between percent body fat measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and anthropometric measurements in Thai persons with chronic traumatic spinal cord injury


Study design

Cross-sectional study.


To determine and compare the correlations of percent body fat (%BF) evaluated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and anthropometric measurements including body mass index (BMI), skinfold thickness, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist to hip ratio in Thai persons with chronic traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI).


An SCI-specialized rehabilitation facility in a university hospital.


Forty-six Thais with chronic traumatic SCI from a chronic SCI cohort of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital were enrolled. Anthropometric measurements including weight, height, BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist to hip ratio, and skinfold thickness of four sites (biceps, triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac) were measured. The estimated %BF was calculated using the Durnin-Womersley formula based on the sum of 4-site skinfold thickness. Data of %BF was evaluated by DEXA within 3 months before anthropometric measurements of each participant were obtained. The correlations between each anthropometric parameter and % BF from DEXA were determined by the Pearson correlation coefficient.


The correlation of %BF between two methods, i.e., DEXA and estimation based on 4-site skinfold thickness, was strongly positive (r = 0.829; p < 0.001). The correlations between %BF from DEXA and hip circumference, BMI, and waist circumference were moderately positive (r = 0.697, 0.540, and 0.540, respectively; all p < 0.001).


Better than the other anthropometric measurements, the estimation of %BF based on the 4-site skinfold using the Durnin-Womersley formula is a practical method for evaluating obesity in Thai people with chronic traumatic SCI.

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We would like to thank all staffs and nurses at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Rehabilitation ward of the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, for facilitating the data collection and all participants for their time.

A part of this study was presented in the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) 60th Annual Scientific Meeting (ISCoS 2021: VIRTUAL) on 29 September - 2 October 2021.


This research is funded by the Faculty of Medicine Chiang Mai University Research Grant No. 028-2563/0 (S.P.). The funding body had no role in the design of the study, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, and in writing the manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations



BK designed the research question, analyzed the data, drafted, and wrote the final version of the manuscripts. KF, KT, JD, and SC collected the data, analyzed the data, and commented on the final version of the manuscripts. SP designed the research question, collected and analyzed the data, and commented on the final version of the manuscripts.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sintip Pattanakuhar.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

We certify that all applicable institutional and governmental regulations concerning the ethical use of human volunteers were followed during the entire course of this research. The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, and was in accordance with the current version of Helsinki Declaration. The approval number was 382/2563.

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Kuvijitsuwan, B., Fongkaew, K., Tengpanitchakul, K. et al. Correlations between percent body fat measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and anthropometric measurements in Thai persons with chronic traumatic spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord (2022).

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