Body composition changes in Caucasian and African American children and adolescents with obesity using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry measurements after a 10-week weight loss program

R Figueroa-Colon, M S Mayo, R A Aldridge, T Winder, R L Weinsier
Obesity Research 1998, 6 (5): 326-31

OBJECTIVE: Changes in body composition during a weight loss program have not been described in children. We wanted to test the hypothesis that weight loss can be achieved while maintaining total body fat-free mass.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: We determined body composition changes by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry measured at baseline and after the first 10 weeks of a multidisciplinary weight loss program. The program consisted of 10 weekly group sessions where the children were provided instruction in lifestyle modification, including diet and exercise. Program leaders included a pediatrician, psychologist, registered dietitian, and exercise instructor.

RESULTS: We studied 59 obese children, mean (+/-SD) age 12.8+/-2.6 years, 29% boys and 71% girls, 49% Caucasian, and 51% African American. At enrollment, the children's mean height and body mass index were 157 cm and 38.9 kg/m2, respectively. The children's dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry-derived mean at baseline and at 10 weeks and corresponding p values were: weight (94.6 kg vs. 92.3 kg, p<0.0001), total body fat mass (46.9 kg vs. 44.3 kg, p<0.0001), percentage total body fat (49.2% vs. 47.5%, p<0.0001), total trunk mass (43.0 kg vs. 41.5 kg, p<0.0001), total trunk fat (21.2 kg vs. 20.0 kg, p<0.0001), total body fat-free mass (47.6 kg vs. 47.9 kg, p=0.33), total body bone mass (2.7 kg vs. 2.7 kg, p=0.99), and total body bone mineral density (1.14 g/cm2 vs. 1.15 g/cm2, p=0.0119). The children's race, gender, or Tanner stage did not affect these changes.

DISCUSSION: Decreases in total body fat mass was achieved, and total body fat-free mass was maintained among boy and girl Caucasian and African American children participating in this lifestyle modification weight loss program.

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