Fundamental aspects of the body impedance analysis (BIA) method were investigated to determine limitations. This method measures body impedance with a low-level (800 microA) 50-KHz current conducted through the tissues. A linear regression equation was proposed to relate impedance measurements to total body fat. The hydrostatic densitometric method (underwater weighing) was used to validate the proposed mathematical expression. A correlation coefficient of 0.98 between these two methods was obtained. The overall results from this study indicate the usefulness of the BIA method in determining percent body fat in humans provided body fluids are not perturbed several hours before the measurements.