Evaluation of a new air displacement plethysmograph for measuring human body composition

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Dec;27(12):1686-91.


A new air displacement plethysmograph, the BOD POD (BP), was evaluated in comparison to hydrostatic weighing (HW). Sixty-eight adult subjects (26 F, 42 M) varying widely in age (range 20-56 yr), ethnicity, and fatness participated in this study. Same-day test-retest reliability was assessed in a subsample of 16 subjects (9 F, 7 M) and validity was assessed in all subjects (N = 68). The test-retest coefficients of variation (CV) for %FAT measured by BP (%FATBP) and HW (%FATHW) were not significantly different (1.7% +/- 1.1% and 2.3% +/- 1.9% for BP and HW, respectively (mean +/- SD)), indicating excellent reliability for both methods. Validity of percent fat measured by the BP (%FATBP) was also excellent. The mean difference in %FAT (BP - HW) was -0.3 +/- 0.2 (SEM), with a 95% confidence interval of -0.6 to 0 %FAT. The regression equation (%FATHW = 1.86 + 0.94 %FATBP; r2 = 0.93, SEE = 1.81) was not significantly different from the line of identity (%FATHW = %FATBP), and did not differ by gender. These findings indicate that the BOD POD is a highly reliable and valid method for determining %FAT in adult humans in comparison to HW. This new method has several advantages over HW in that it is quick, relatively simple to operate and may be able to accommodate special populations such as the obese, elderly, and disabled.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Air
  • Asian People
  • Black People
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Equipment Design
  • Ethnicity
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography / instrumentation*
  • Plethysmography / methods
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Water
  • White People


  • Water