Objective: To assess variables of body composition and identify their correlates in a group of individuals studied from adolescence to early adulthood.
Methods: Cross-sectional results were obtained from 203, 149 and 106 subjects at the respective ages. Sixty-two subjects examined at all three ages constituted the longitudinal study group. A cohort of randomly selected 15-year-old adolescents from an industrial town in Sweden was studied by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and followed up at 17 and 20.5 years. Lean body mass (LBM), fat mass (FM) and total body bone mineral content (TBMC) were measured by DXA. Total bone mineral density (TBMD) was calculated. Information of parental educational level, energy intake and food habits, energy expenditure (TEE) and physical activity level (PAL) was obtained by questionnaires and diaries.
Results: LBM, TBMC and TBMD increased significantly more in males and FM more in females, from 15 to 20.5 years of age. Body weight, height, TEE, PAL and the fathers' educational level and, at age 15, also gender were identified as significant correlates of the body composition variables.
Conclusion: New reference values for body composition at ages 15, 17 and 20.5 years are presented and also a finding about an association between the father's educational level and the adolescent's body composition.