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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Sep;62(9):1065-74. Epub 2007 Jul 11.

Use of bioelectrical impedance analysis to assess body composition in rural Gambian children.

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Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands.



To validate the Tanita BC-418MA Segmental Body Composition Analyser and four-site skinfold measurements for the prediction of total body water (TBW), percentage fat-free mass (%FFM) and percentage body fat (%BF) in a population of rural Gambian children.


One hundred and thirty-three healthy Gambian children (65 males and 68 females). FFM estimated by the inbuilt equations supplied with the Tanita system was assessed by comparison with deuterium oxide dilution and novel prediction equations were produced. Deuterium oxide dilution was also used to develop equations for %BF based on four-site skinfolds (biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac).


The inbuilt equations underestimated FFM compared to deuterium oxide dilution in all the sex and age categories (P<0.003), with greater accuracy in younger children and in males. The best prediction of %FFM was obtained from the variables height, weight, sex, impedance, age and four skinfold thickness measurements (adjusted R(2)=0.84, root mean square error (MSE)=2.07%).


These data suggest that the Tanita instrument may be a reliable field assessment technique in African children, when using population and gender-specific equations to convert impedance measurements into estimates of FFM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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