Errors in Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Estimation of Body Composition Induced by Hypohydration



Rodriguez-Sanchez N & Galloway SD (2015) Errors in Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Estimation of Body Composition Induced by Hypohydration. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 25 (1), pp. 60-68.

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is a popular tool to determine body composition (BC) in athletes, and is used for analysis of fat-free soft tissue mass (FFST) or fat mass (FM) gain/loss in response to exercise or nutritional interventions. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of exercise-heat stress induced hypohydration (HYP, >2% of body mass (BM) loss) vs. maintenance of euhydration (EUH) on DXA estimates of BC, sum of skinfolds (SF), and impedance (Berk et al.) measurements in athletes. Competitive athletes (23 males and 15 females) recorded morning nude BM for 7 days prior to the first main trial. Measurements on the first trial day were conducted in a EUH condition, and again after exercise-heat stress induced HYP. On the second trial day, fluid and electrolyte losses were replaced during exercise using a sports drink. A reduction in total BM (1.6±0.4 kg; 2.3±0.4% HYP) and total LM (1.3±0.4 kg), mainly from trunk (1.1±0.5 kg), was observed using DXA when participants were HYP, reflecting the sweat loss. Estimated fat percent increased (0.3±0.3%), however, total FM did not change (0.1±0.2 kg). SF and IMP declined with HYP (losses of 1.5±2.9% and 1.6±3% respectively) suggesting FM loss. When EUH was maintained there were no significant changes in BM, DXA estimates, or SF values pre to post exercise, but IMP still declined. We conclude that use of DXA for LM assessment in athletes must ensure a EUH state, particularly when considering changes associated with nutritional or exercise interventions.

Fat-free soft tissue mass; fat mass; hydration; exercise; DXA

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: Volume 25, Issue 1

Publication date28/02/2015
Publication date online05/2014
PublisherHuman Kinetics

People (2)


Professor Stuart Galloway
Professor Stuart Galloway

Professor, Sport

Dr Nidia Rodriguez-Sanchez
Dr Nidia Rodriguez-Sanchez

Lecturer in Physiology and Nutrition, Sport