Adult fat content: reinterpreting and modelling the Benn Index and related sex differences

Burton, R. F. (2015) Adult fat content: reinterpreting and modelling the Benn Index and related sex differences. Annals of Human Biology, 42(1), pp. 91-96. (doi:10.3109/03014460.2014.903997)

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Abstract

Background: In women, the height exponent, p, of the Benn Index, (body mass)/heightp, is typically lower than in men, body masses are more weakly correlated with height and fat masses tend to be higher. In both sexes fat masses correlate only weakly with height. Changes in fat mass are typically accompanied by changes in fat-free mass.

Aims: To integrate these facts, together with other published findings relating to fat content and to explain why p is lower in women.

Methods: Data and statistics are taken from the literature. The differences in p are explored by Monte Carlo and algebraic modelling. Mean transverse areas of the body (MTAs), calculated as (body mass)/height, are related to height.

Results and conclusions: The body can be modelled as consisting of a component, M1, varying roughly with the cube of height and another, M2, varying little with height. The low correlation between total body mass and height is due both to M2 and to data scatter. The low p values in women relate especially to M2. Relationships amongst height, fatness, MTAs and girths of body parts generally conform to this interpretation. Questions are raised as to how health risks are best related to fat mass.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burton, Dr Richard
Authors: Burton, R. F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Annals of Human Biology
Publisher:Informa Healthcare
ISSN:0301-4460
ISSN (Online):1464-5033

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