Comparison between DXA and MRI for the Visceral Fat Assessment in Athletes

Hiroko Murata, Tomoyoshi Yagi, Taishi Midorikawa, Suguru Torii, Eri Takai, Motoko Taguchi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) may be invalid for assessing athletes with larger bodies, larger lean body mass, and thicker trunks. This study compared the athletes' visceral adipose tissue (VAT) assessed using DXA and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Eighty-Two Japanese male collegiate athletes from 18 sports participated in this study. VAT was assessed using the dual-energy scan that coincided with the 4th lumbar vertebra. The sum of eight magnetic resonance slices corresponding to the region of the dual-energy scan was used for comparison. The VAT volume was higher with the dual-energy scan than with MRI (difference: 35 cm 3, p<0.01). A significant correlation was noted between the volumes measured using both modalities (r=0.88, p<0.01). Magnetic resonance-derived volumes less than 600 cm 3showed a stronger significant correlation with dual-energy-derived volumes. However, magnetic resonance-derived VAT volumes exceeding 600 cm 3were not significantly correlated with dual-energy-derived volumes. In conclusion, VAT volumes derived from DXA were larger and significantly correlated with those derived from MRI across a wide range of values. Methods using DXA for assessing the visceral fat volume may require adjustment to estimate abdominal visceral fat volume in athletes, with care taken when using such methods for heavyweight athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-631
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of sports medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun


  • abdominal obesity
  • body composition
  • heavyweight
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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