ESPE Abstracts (2016) 86 RFC13.8

Measuring Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Using Ultrasound in Children

Adela Chirita-Emandia & Maria Puiua,b


aGenetics Department, Center of Genomic Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Victor Babes” Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania; bEmergency Hospital for Children “Louis Turcanu Timisoara”, Timisoara, Romania


Background: The method for assessing adipose tissue thickness using ultrasound has been used extensively in sport medicine. However, the reliability of this method in children was not evaluated. We aim to determine the inter-observer reliability in measuring uncompressed subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness (USAT) using ultrasound, in children.

Methods: About 40 healthy children (20 male, 20 female), median age 11.8 years (5.3 to 18.1) were evaluated. Median body mass index standard deviation score (BMI SDS) was −0.13 (−3.9 to 4). Three observers used a Hosand BX2000 Ultrasonic Adipometer to measure USAT at three sites: triceps, subscapular, supraspinale. A single experienced observer used the three sites to measure the compressed adipose thickness using a skinfold caliper.

Results: Individual observer deviations from the mean value of the three observers in adipometer measurement had SD=1.74 mm, 92.8% were less than 3 mm. Analysis separated by anatomical sites showed high reliability values for triceps: linear regression R2=0.84, P=0.000; intraclass correlation coefficient ICC=0.92 and standard error of measurement SEM=0.63. For supraspinale site: R2=0.82, P=0.000; ICC=0.89 and SEM=1.17; while for subscapular the values were lower: R2=0.79, P=0.000; ICC=0.78 and SEM=1.02. The body fat percentage (BF%) calculated using skinfold measurements was highly correlated with the BF% calculated by the adipometer (R=0.92, R2=0.83, P=0.000). Pearson correlation between BMI SDS and BF% calculated from skinfold was R=0.52; R2=0.28; P=0.001, while for the adipometer it was R=0.53, R2=0.27, P=0.000.

Conclusion: This novel ultrasound measurement technique is a reliable fast and cheap method for measuring uncompressed subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness in children, sustaining its application for research and clinical purposes.

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