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Abstract

The age-related pattern of body density and body composition in Japanese males (n = 266) and females (n = 318), 11.00 to 18.99 years of age was studied. Body density (BD) as well as height, body weight, and seven skinfold thicknesses were measured. Percentage fat (%Fat) was calculated using the age- and sex-specific equation of Lohman. Fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM), and the body mass index (BMI) were calculated. The trend for BD in males was lowest at 11 years (1.0530 g/ml) and increased to 1.0695 g/ml at 14 years, and then decreased slightly at 15 to 17 years. In female, BD decreased from 1.0530 g/ml at 13 years to 1.0424 g/ml at 17 years. Mean %Fat was highest in males at 11 years (15.8%), and lowest at 14 years (10.1%). The highest mean %Fat in females occurred at 16 years (22.8%), and the lowest at age 11 years (15.2%). Overall, only 6.8% of males and 3.1% of females were classified as obese. Between 11 and 18 years, FFM of males differed by 20.7 kg or 67.9%, whereas females showed a difference of only 10.8 kg or 34.7%. Consequently, age effects explained approximately 60% of the male variance of FFM but only 26% in females. Body density of each sex and age group in this study did not differ significantly from previous Japanese studies, and the pooled BD data for 1,457 Japanese including the present study are reported as a reference. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 14:327–337, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.