The accuracy of bioelectrical impedance to track body composition changes depends on the degree of obesity in adolescents with obesity

Nutr Res. 2018 Jun:54:60-68. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Apr 6.


The aim of the present study was to assess the sensitivity of bio-impedance (BIA) in tracking body composition changes in adolescents with various degrees of obesity. We hypothesized that while BIA provides a reliable measure of body composition, its accuracy decreases with increasing obesity and its ability to track changes might be reduced with higher degree of body weight and body composition. Whole-body and segmental body composition were assessed by bio-impedance analysis (BIA-Tanita MC-780) and dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA, Hologic) among 196 obese adolescents (Tanner stage 3-5) aged 14 ± 0.9 years old, before and after a 3-month weight loss program. Except for the measurement of FFM (kg) (r = 0.03; P = .721; ρ = 0.107; P = .246), the percentage of variation between M0 and M3 for FM% (r = 0.41, P < .001; ρ = 0.534; P < .001) and FMkg (r = 0.64 P < .001; ρ = 0.572; P < .001) are significantly correlated and show significant concordance between DXA and BIA. FMkg and FM% changes between M0 and M3 are similarly tracked by DXA and BIA whatever the initial degree of obesity (based on initial weight, BMI, FM% and FFMkg tertiles). The higher the degree of changes and the higher are the differences between the two devices in measuring FM% and FMkg changes. We found inconsistent and low correlations and concordances between the two devices when tracking FM% changes whatever the degree of weight and FM (kg and %) variations. The accuracy of body composition assessment using BIA decreases with increasing obesity, and its reliability to track changes is reduced with high initial or variations of body weight, FM, FFM and BMI.

Keywords: Body composition; Pediatric Obesity; Weight Loss; tracking Impedance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Fluid Compartments / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Reduction Programs