Serum osmolarity and haematocrit do not modify the association between the impedance index (Ht(2)/Z) and total body water in the very old: the Newcastle 85+ study

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Jan-Feb 2015;60(1):227-32. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2014.09.004. Epub 2014 Sep 17.


Purpose of the research: Bioelectrical impedance is a non-invasive technique for the assessment of body composition; however, information on its accuracy in the very old (80+years) is limited. We investigated whether the association between the impedance index and total body water (TBW) was modified by hydration status as assessed by haematocrit and serum osmolarity.

Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Newcastle 85+Cohort Study. Anthropometric measurements [weight, height (Ht)] were taken and body mass index (BMI) calculated. Leg-to-leg bioimpedance was used to measure the impedance value (Z) and to estimate fat mass, fat free mass and TBW. The impedance index (Ht2/Z) was calculated. Blood haematocrit, haemoglobin, glucose, sodium, potassium, urea and creatinine concentrations were measured. Serum osmolarity was calculated using a validated prediction equation.

Principal results: 677 men and women aged 85 years were included. The average BMI of the population was 24.3±4.2kg/m2 and the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 32.6% and 9.5%, respectively. The impedance index was significantly associated with TBW in both men (n=274, r=0.76, p<0.001) and women (n=403, r=0.96, p<0.001); in regression models, the impedance index remained associated with TBW after adjustment for height, weight and gender, and further adjustment for serum osmolarity and haematocrit. The impedance index values increased with BMI and the relationship was not modified by hydration status in women (p=0.69) and only marginally in men (p=0.02).

Major conclusions: The association between the impedance index and TBW was not modified by hydration status, which may support the utilisation of leg-to-leg bioimpedance for the assessment of body composition in the very old.

Keywords: Bioimpedance; Body composition; Osmolarity; Total body water; Very old.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Water*
  • Body Weight
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Hematocrit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Osmolar Concentration*