Objectives: This study aimed to ascertain the efficacy of bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) in assessing body composition in the elderly by comparing findings with the results of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and to test an analytical variant of the method (specific BIVA).
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Participants: The sample comprised 207 free-living elderly individuals (75 men and 132 women) aged 65 to 93 years.
Measurements: Anthropometric and bioelectrical measurements were taken according to standard criteria. BIVA was applied using the 'classic' procedure and correcting bioelectrical values for body geometry to obtain an estimate of the whole-body impedivity. DXA was used as a reference body composition assessment method. BIVA (classic and specific values) and DXA findings were compared using Student's t and Hotelling's T2 tests, and Pearson's correlation coefficient.
Results: In both sexes, BIVA distinguished between individuals with different amounts of fat and fat-free mass (lean mass including bone mineral content), according to DXA, but not between those with different proportions of fat mass (FM%). Specific bioelectrical values detected changes in body composition.
Conclusion: BIVA should be used with caution for evaluating body composition in the elderly. Specific bioelectrical values proved effective, showing promise as a methodological variant of BIVA, suitable for identifying age-related changes in body fatness.