Body elemental composition: comparison between black and white adults

Am J Physiol. 1977 Apr;232(4):E419-22. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1977.232.4.E419.


The age-related changes in body chemical composition were measured in a normal black population ranging in age from 30 to 80 yr. The levels of total-body calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and chlorine were measured by in vivo neutron activation. In addition, the lean body mass (total-body potassium) was measured by whole-body counting of 40K. These data were compared with the same data obtained on a normal white population in a previous study. Although there were no significant differences in the height of the two groups, black men and women had significantly higher total-body calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chlorine, and potassium than the sex-and age-matched white population. The increased levels of total-body calcium and potassium when normalized for the weight and height of the subjects were reduced but still remained significantly higher than those of the white population. Clearly specific reference standards for skeletal and muscle mass as well as for sodium and chlorine need to be established for black populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Composition*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Chlorides / analysis
  • Electrolytes / analysis*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphates / analysis
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Sodium / analysis


  • Chlorides
  • Electrolytes
  • Phosphates
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium