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      Body Composition during Adolescence: Methods, Limitations and Determinants

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          To some extent body composition reflects nutritional status. It is also influenced by age, sex, race, physical activity and disease. The method used to measure body composition depends on the variable to be quantified. It may also depend on the practical conditions of the study. Detailed methods, such as densitometry, isotope dilution and electrical impedance give more accurate information, but they are commonly based on hypotheses established in adults. Anthropometric measurements can be used directly or as ratio or regression equations. At adolescence, the weight/height<sup>2</sup> or body mass index (BMI) is preferred to weight for height as age is taken into account. In addition, the BMI pattern reflects real changes in body shape, and early in life it is an indicator of later development. In addition to measuring weight and height skinfold (SF) measurements should be carried out. The triceps SF is usually recommended and widely used as it is better than the subscapular SF to predict percent body fat. Trunk SFs, such as the subscapular, are better than extremity SF for their association with internal fat and their good correlations with risk factors and response to nutritional interventions. Chemical changes in the body are observed during growth. Chemical maturity does not occur until after puberty, but most changes occur early in life. Tracking is the maintenance of an individual in the same percentile range across age and varies according to the growth parameter and to the period of growth. Low tracking of fatness (up to the age of 8 years) corresponds to the period of rapid chemical changes. Low tracking of stature is observed at adolescence when height velocity is high. Nutrition affects fatness and stature, but the consequences of under- and over-nutrition differ between early childhood and adolescence. BMI curves show that most changes have their origin during the first years of life.

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          Author and article information

          Horm Res Paediatr
          Hormone Research in Paediatrics
          S. Karger AG
          03 December 2008
          : 39
          : Suppl 3
          : 25-40
          INSERM, ISTNA, CNAM, Paris, France
          182782 Horm Res 1993;39:25–40
          © 1993 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Pages: 16
          Workshop I The Physical Status: The Use and Interpretation of Anthropometry in Adolescence


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