Validation of tetrapolar bioelectrical impedance method to assess human body composition

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1986 Apr;60(4):1327-32. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1986.60.4.1327.


This study was conducted to validate the relationship between bioelectrical conductance (ht2/R) and densitometrically determined fat-free mass, and to compare the prediction errors of body fatness derived from the tetrapolar impedance method and skinfold thicknesses, relative to hydrodensitometry. One-hundred and fourteen male and female subjects, aged 18-50 yr, with a wide range of fat-free mass (34-96 kg) and percent body fat (4-41%), participated. For males, densitometrically determined fat-free mass was correlated highly (r = 0.979), with fat-free mass predicted from tetrapolar conductance measures using an equation developed for males in a previous study. For females, the correlation between measured fat-free mass and values predicted from the combined (previous and present male data) equation for men also was strong (r = 0.954). The regression coefficients in the male and female regression equations were not significantly different. Relative to hydrodensitometry, the impedance method had a lower predictive error or standard error of the estimates of estimating body fatness than did a standard anthropometric technique (2.7 vs. 3.9%). Therefore this study establishes the validity and reliability of the tetrapolar impedance method for use in assessment of body composition in healthy humans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Body Composition*
  • Densitometry
  • Electric Conductivity*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skinfold Thickness