Assessing body composition with DXA and bioimpedance: effects of obesity, physical activity, and age

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Mar;16(3):700-5. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.94. Epub 2008 Jan 17.


Objective: This study evaluated to what extent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and two types of bioimpedance analysis (BIA) yield similar results for body fat mass (FM) in men and women with different levels of obesity and physical activity (PA).

Methods and procedures: The study population consisted of 37-81-year-old Finnish people (82 men and 86 women). FM% was estimated using DXA (GE Lunar Prodigy) and two BIA devices (InBody (720) and Tanita BC 418 MA). Subjects were divided into normal, overweight, and obese groups on the basis of clinical cutoff points of BMI, and into low PA (LPA) and high PA (HPA) groups. Agreement between the devices was calculated by using the Bland-Altman analysis.

Results: Compared to DXA, both BIA devices provided on average 2-6% lower values for FM% in normal BMI men, in women in all BMI categories, and in both genders in both HPA and LPA groups. In obese men, the differences were smaller. The two BIA devices provided similar means for groups. Differences between the two BIA devices with increasing FM% were a result of the InBody (720) not including age in their algorithm for estimating body composition.

Discussion: BIA methods provided systematically lower values for FM than DXA. However, the differences depend on gender and body weight status pointing out the importance of considering these when identifying people with excess FM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors