Body composition in individuals with cystic fibrosis

Sarah Soltman, Rebecca A. Hicks, Farah Naz Khan, Andrea Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Because nutritional status is intimately linked with pulmonary function and survival, nutrition has been at the mainstay of cystic fibrosis (CF) care. Body Mass Index (BMI) is traditionally used to define nutritional status because of the ease with which it can be calculated, but it has a number of limitations including its inability to differentiate fat mass (FM) from lean body mass (LBM), the latter thought to confer health advantage. A number of tools are available to quantify body composition including dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), bioelectrical impedance, MRI, CT, air displacement plethysmography, and stable isotopes, and these have been used to varying degrees in studies of CF. In CF, LBM tends to be lower for a given BMI, particularly at lower BMI. In adults, lower fat-free mass (FFM) correlates with greater CF disease severity, lower pulmonary function and higher inflammatory markers. FFM is also positively associated with greater bone mineral density, while greater FM is associated with greater loss of lumbar spine bone mineral density over 2 years. In youth, LBM is positively associated with pulmonary function. The predictive value of body composition for functional and clinical outcomes and the role of improving LBM on these outcomes remain undefined. With improvements in BMI accompanying highly-effective modulator therapy, closer evaluations of body composition may inform risk for more traditional, non-CF adult outcomes in CF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100272
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Bioelectrical impedance
  • Body composition
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Fat mass
  • Lean body mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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