BIA is easy, non-invasive, relatively inexpensive and can be performed in almost any subject because it is portable. Part II of these ESPEN guidelines reports results for fat-free mass (FFM), body fat (BF), body cell mass (BCM), total body water (TBW), extracellular water (ECW) and intracellular water (ICW) from various studies in healthy and ill subjects. The data suggests that BIA works well in healthy subjects and in patients with stable water and electrolytes balance with a validated BIA equation that is appropriate with regard to age, sex and race. Clinical use of BIA in subjects at extremes of BMI ranges or with abnormal hydration cannot be recommended for routine assessment of patients until further validation has proven for BIA algorithm to be accurate in such conditions. Multi-frequency- and segmental-BIA may have advantages over single-frequency BIA in these conditions, but further validation is necessary. Longitudinal follow-up of body composition by BIA is possible in subjects with BMI 16-34 kg/m(2) without abnormal hydration, but must be interpreted with caution. Further validation of BIA is necessary to understand the mechanisms for the changes observed in acute illness, altered fat/lean mass ratios, extreme heights and body shape abnormalities.