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Percent Body Fat Measurement in the Medical Management of Children with Obesity

Quadri, M.; Ariza, A. J.; Selvaraj, K.; Schaller, K.; Binns, H. J.

Pediatr Ann. 2018 Dec 14; 47(12):e487-e493


Sustaining weight loss can be challenging, as physiological responses to weight loss, including metabolic and hormonal adaptations and decreased energy expenditure, promote weight regain. Paired with sustained dietary changes, physical activity can promote weight maintenance after successful weight loss, as physical activity can help maintain fat-free mass. We present several illustrative cases to highlight the potential use of body composition measurement using a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) scale to augment obesity management counseling in a tertiary care pediatric weight-management clinic. BIA does require some interpretation, as it can be affected by hydration status and time of day, as well as patient age, sex, and body mass index. Nonetheless, BIA can be a helpful aid to obesity counseling. More research is needed to better understand how to use change in percent body fat over time as a motivational tool for management of children with obesity. [Pediatr Ann. 2018;47(12):e487-e493.].

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