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Body Fat Study
Relationship of Body Composition to Body-Fatness Estimation
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Body Fat Study

Relationship of Body Composition to Body-Fatness Estimation in Japanese University Students

Body Fat Study - Aim
To examine the relationship between self-estimated whole body size and fatness and whole body and regional composition, and the relationship between self-estimated whole body fatness and self-estimated regional fatness in Japanese university students.

Body Fat Study - Research Methods
This was a cross-sectional study using Japanese university students (110 men and 79 women). The percentage of body fat, fat mass (FM), and fat-free mass (FFM) were measured by underwater weighing and used as body composition variables. Subcutaneous fat thicknesses were determined at seven sites by ultrasonography to estimate regional body composition, and six circumferences and four breadths to estimate regional size. Relative body size and fatness were self-estimated using a questionnaire.

Body Fat Study - Results
Only women tended to estimate themselves as being fatter than they actually were. Self-estimated body fatness moderately correlated with the percentage of body fat FM, and body mass index. After adjusting for the percentages of body fat and FM, self-estimated fatness correlated with body mass index. Among self-estimated regional fatness, self-estimated abdominal fatness had the strongest correlation with self-estimated whole body fatness in both genders.

Body Fat Study - Issues
The low correlation between estimated and actual body fatness in both genders indicates that Japanese university students, especially women, inaccurately estimate their percentage of body fat. In fact, both men and women primarily estimate their whole body fatness by body weight relative to height.

Source: National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 2002

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