Estimation of human body composition by electrical impedance methods: a comparative study

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1985 May;58(5):1565-71. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1985.58.5.1565.


This study 1) further validated the relationship between total body electrical conductivity (TOBEC) and densitometrically determined lean body mass (LBMd) and 2) compared with existing body composition techniques (densitometry, total body water, total body potassium, and anthropometry) two new electrical methods for the estimation of LBM: TOBEC, a uniform current induction method, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), a localized current injection method. In a sample of 75 male and female subjects ranging from 4.9 to 54.9% body fat the correlation between LBMd and LBM predicted from TOBEC by use of a previously developed regression equation was extremely strong (r = 0.962), thus confirming the validity of the TOBEC method. LBM predicted from BIA by use of prediction equations provided with the instrument also correlated with LBMd (r = 0.912) but overestimated LBM compared with LBMd in obese subjects. However, no such systematic error was apparent when new prediction equations derived from this heterogeneous sample of subjects were applied. Thus the TOBEC and BIA methods, which are based on the differing electrical properties of lean tissue and fat and which are convenient, rapid, and safe, correlate well with more cumbersome human body composition techniques.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Height
  • Body Water / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Densitometry
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Skinfold Thickness


  • Potassium