Validity of Selected Bioimpedance Equations for Estimating Body Composition in Men and Women: A Four-Compartment Model Comparison

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Abstract

Nickerson, BS, Esco, MR, Bishop, PA, Schumacker, RE, Richardson, MT, Fedewa, MV, Wingo, JE, and Welborn, BA. Validity of selected bioimpedance equations for estimating body composition in men and women: a four-compartment model comparison. J Strength Cond Res 31(7): 1963–1972, 2017—The purpose of this study was to compare body fat percentage (BF%) and fat-free mass (FFM) values from bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) equations to values determined from a 4-compartment (4C) model. Eighty-two adults (42 men and 40 women) volunteered to participate (age = 23 ± 5 years). Body fat percentage and FFM were estimated from previously developed BIA equations by Chumlea et al. (BIACH), Deurenberg et al. (BIADE), Kyle et al. (BIAKYLE), and Sun et al. (BIASUN). Four-compartment model body composition was derived from underwater weighing for body density, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for bone mineral content, and bioimpedance spectroscopy for total body water. The standard error of estimate (SEE) for group BF% and FFM ranged from 3.0 to 3.8% and 2.1 to 2.7 kg, respectively. The constant error (CE) was significantly higher and lower for BF% and FFM (p < 0.001), respectively, for 3 BIA equations (BIACH, CE = 3.1% and −2.2 kg; BIADE, CE = 3.7% and −2.9 kg; BIAKYLE, CE = 2.3% and −1.9 kg), but was not significant for BF% (p = 0.702) and FFM (p = 0.677) for BIASUN (CE = −0.1% and 0.1 kg). The 95% limits of agreement were narrowest for BIACH (±5.9%; ±4.2 kg) and largest for BIADE (±7.4%; ±6.2 kg). The significant CE yielded by BIACH, BIADE, and BIAKYLE indicates these equations tend to overpredict group BF% and underestimate group FFM. However, all BIA equations produced low SEEs and fairly narrow limits of agreement. When the use of a 4C model is not available, practitioners might consider using one of the selected BIA equations, but should consider the associated CE.

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