Total and Subcutaneous Adipose-Tissue in Women: the measurement of distribution and accurate prediction of quantity by using magnetic resonance imaging

Paul Fowler, M F Fuller, C A Glasbey, Margaret A Foster, G. G. Cameron, G McNeill, R J Maughan

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Total and subcutaneous adipose tissue in seven lean and seven obese women were quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The distributions of adipose tissues along the body were closely correlated: subcutaneous with total, both within and between lean and obese groups. Lean women had proportionally less adipose tissue in the lower thorax and upper abdomen than did obese women. Reducing the number of MRI scans from 17 to 4 did not increase the residual SD of predicted body adipose tissue (2.9 percent) when body density was used as the reference measure. MRI gave an estimate of total-body adipose tissue significantly closer to the value for fat percent produced when the results from five other techniques (skinfold thickness, underwater weighing, K-40 whole-body counting, isotopic water dilution, and tetrapolar bioelectrical impedance) were averaged than when any other technique was used alone. MRI-determined percent body adipose tissue in women is close to, and proportional to, estimates derived by underwater weighing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1991


  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • body adipose tissue
  • subcutaneous adipose tissue
  • prediction
  • computed-tomography
  • volume
  • K-40
  • fat

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