Fat-free mass and total body water of infants estimated from total body electrical conductivity measurements

Pediatr Res. 1987 Oct;22(4):417-21. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198710000-00011.


Total body electrical conductivity measurements can be used in conjunction with suitable calibration curves to quantitate fat-free mass and total body water. A study was designed to evaluate whether calibration curves, derived from miniature piglets, can be used to translate total body electrical conductivity measurements of human infants into estimates of total body water and fat-free mass. Thirty-four, healthy 2-, 4-, 8-, and 12-wk-old infants were studied. A comparison of the physical dimensions of infants and piglets indicated no large discrepancies in their body geometries that would invalidate the calibration from this standpoint. Estimates of fat-free mass, fat, and total body water were evaluated by comparison with the body composition of reference infants of comparable description. There was excellent agreement between the total body electrical conductivity-derived estimates and reference body composition values, suggesting that the calibration procedure is adequate. Thus, the total body electrical conductivity technique can be used to estimate the body composition of normal young infants without subjecting them to risk or discomfort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Water*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Skinfold Thickness