Advances in digital anthropometric body composition assessment: neural network algorithm prediction of appendicular lean mass

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2024 May;78(5):452-454. doi: 10.1038/s41430-023-01396-3. Epub 2023 Dec 23.


Currently available anthropometric body composition prediction equations were often developed on small participant samples, included only several measured predictor variables, or were prepared using conventional statistical regression methods. Machine learning approaches are increasingly publicly available and have key advantages over statistical modeling methods when developing prediction algorithms on large datasets with multiple complex covariates. This study aimed to test the feasibility of predicting DXA-measured appendicular lean mass (ALM) with a neural network (NN) algorithm developed on a sample of 576 participants using 10 demographic (sex, age, 7 ethnic groupings) and 43 anthropometric dimensions generated with a 3D optical scanner. NN-predicted and measured ALM were highly correlated (n = 116; R2, 0.95, p < 0.001, non-significant bias) with small mean, absolute, and root-mean square errors (X ± SD, -0.17 ± 1.64 kg and 1.28 ± 1.04 kg; 1.64). These observations demonstrate the application of NN body composition prediction algorithms to rapidly emerging large and complex digital anthropometric datasets. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT03637855, NCT05217524, NCT03771417, and NCT03706612.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms*
  • Anthropometry* / methods
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Young Adult

Associated data