Which procedures and methods are used to measure degree of body fat in obesity?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Body mass index (BMI) calculation, waist circumference, and waist/hip ratio are the common measures of the degree of body fat used in routine clinical practice. Other procedures that are used in few clinical centers include the following:

  • Caliper-derived measurements of skin-fold thickness

  • Dual-energy radiographic absorptiometry (DEXA)

  • Bioelectrical impedance analysis

  • Ultrasonography to determine fat thickness

  • Underwater weighing

The standard techniques for measuring visceral fat are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanning. Less expensive techniques for direct measurement of visceral fat include abdominal ultrasonography and abdominal bioelectrical impedance.


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