Several guidelines for bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) have been prepared for adults, but not for children. For that reason, there is a pressing need to develop a consensus set of guidelines to facilitate standardisation of BIA in this important group. This review provides an introduction to BIA, highlights critical factors that may impact on BIA and identifies areas where there is a need for further research in order to increase the quality of impedance measurements and prediction of body composition in children. Although the results of this review highlights a lack of studies in children to provide definitive BIA guidelines, the technique has, however, still proven valuable for body composition assessment in ill and healthy children. To fill the gaps in our knowledge, future studies should focus on methodological issues, particularly with regard to hydration, voiding, clothing, skin preparation and body position. The review may advantageously be used as a checklist in the planning of future studies. Finally, this review forms the basis for the development of guidelines for BIA assessment in this particular group; a task appropriately to be undertaken by scientific societies within the field.
Keywords: Bioelectrical impedance analysis; children; guideline; review; standardisation.