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Health issues and nutrition in the elderly

Predictive equations for fat mass in older Hispanic adults with excess adiposity using the 4‐compartment model as a reference method



Predictive equations are the best option for assessing fat mass in clinical practice due to their low cost and practicality. However, several factors, such as age, excess adiposity, and ethnicity can compromise the accuracy of the equations reported to date in the literature.


To develop and validate two predictive equations for estimating fat mass: one based exclusively on anthropometric variables, the other combining anthropometric and bioelectrical impedance variables using the 4C model as the reference method.


This is a cross-sectional study that included 386 Hispanic subjects aged ≥60 with excess adiposity. Fat mass and fat-free mass were measured by the 4C model as predictive variables. Age, sex, and certain anthropometric and bioelectrical impedance data were considered as potential predictor variables. To develop and to validate the equations, the multiple linear regression analysis, and cross-validation protocol were applied.


Equation 1 included weight, sex, and BMI as predictor variables, while equation 2 considered sex, weight, height squared/resistance, and resistance as predictor variables. R2 and RMSE values were ≥0.79 and ≤3.45, respectively, in both equations. The differences in estimates of fat mass by equations 1 and 2 were 0.34 kg and −0.25 kg, respectively, compared to the 4C model. This bias was not significant (p < 0.05).


The new predictive equations are reliable for estimating body composition and are interchangeable with the 4C model. Thus, they can be used in epidemiological and clinical studies, as well as in clinical practice, to estimate body composition in older Hispanic adults with excess adiposity.

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Fig. 1: Evaluation of Eq.#1.
Fig. 2: Evaluation of Eq.#2.
Fig. 3: Bland and Altman analysis of the agreement in FM between the “new equations” and the 4C model.

Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors thank all participants, their families, and clubs for older people, for their collaboration in recruiting the sample. We also thank Mexico’s National Science and Technology Council (CONACyT; CB-2013-01/000000000221664) for funding this project. Thanks to the authorities of the Research Center for Alimentation and Development, the UACJ, and the UANL where the project was carried out. We sincerely appreciate the collaboration of the following students: Karla Pimienta Ibarra, Karen Ochoa Esquer, Fernanda Navarro Moreno, Ricardo de Jesús Vega Sosa, Diego Javier Brambila López, Ariadna Tapia, Leticia Aizpuro Pérez, Itzel Nallely López Villa, Margarita Vázquez López, Jesús Donaldo Maytorena Salazar, José Manuel Munguía Figueroa, Angélica Castellanos Espinosa, Erik Morales Borbonio, Andrea Cereceres Aragón, Dulce María Velo Rey, Jessica Isela López Flores, María Fernanda Orta, Israel Cañas García, Angélica Bugarín Noriega, and Airam Reyes Castro. Finally, thanks to Rosa María Cabrera, José Antonio Ponce, and Orlando Tortoledo for their technical support.


The study was supported by CONACyT grant CB-2013-01/000000000221664.

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Authors and Affiliations



GAR was responsible for designing the study protocol, conducting the field and laboratory studies, cleaning, and data analysis, as well as for the writing and editing process of the manuscript; URR, RTA, ERJ, MERO, RE contributed to the study design and critically reviewed the manuscript. ERJ was also the main adviser on the statistical analyses applied; RSAE was the adviser on deuterium determination by FTIR and critically reviewed the manuscript; PMBI contributed to the laboratory studies and critically reviewed the manuscript; AMH was the project leader and participated in study design, DXA measurements, analysis and interpretation of the data collected, and the writing and editing process of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Heliodoro Alemán-Mateo.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This study was conducted according to the guidelines laid down in the Helsinki Declaration, and all procedures involving human subjects were approved by the Ethics Committee of the CIAD, A.C. (CE/008/2014), UACJ (CBE.ICB/023.10-14), and UANL (15-FaSPyN-SA-19). Informed written consent was obtained from all subjects.

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González-Arellanes, R., Urquidez-Romero, R., Rodríguez-Tadeo, A. et al. Predictive equations for fat mass in older Hispanic adults with excess adiposity using the 4‐compartment model as a reference method. Eur J Clin Nutr (2022).

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