Comparison of CT and dual-energy DEXA using a modified trunk compartment in the measurement of abdominal fat

Endocrine. 2005 Aug;27(3):295-9. doi: 10.1385/ENDO:27:3:295.


The quantification of abdominal fat is a marker of health risk. While dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is easily applied, it measures overall fat, although abdominal fat may be a better indicator of health risk from obesity. We have evaluated whether a subcomponent of DEXA measurements correlates better with computed tomography (CT) for body fat than those traditionally used. Forty-seven healthy adults (22 M/25 F), aged 54.5+/-15.8 yr (mean+/-SD), with BMI of 27.1+/-4.6 kg/m2 participated in a cross-sectional study. Body fat was measured using abdominal CT and DEXA for total fat, trunk fat, and a modified trunk measurement that excludes the chest, termed "lower trunk," and compared. The coefficient of variation for DEXA measurements for trunk, lower trunk, and total body were 1.98, 3.12, and 0.85%, respectively. Mean DEXA for percentage fat ranged from 31.7% to 34.1% for trunk, lower trunk, and total body, compared to 54.2% for abdominal CT (p<0.003 for each pairwise comparison). Lower trunk, whole trunk, and total body DEXA measurements were not different. Measurement of subcomponents of fat content by DEXA is not superior to whole body measurements and remains consistently lower than measurements by CT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging*
  • Absorptiometry, Photon*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Fat Distribution / methods*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*