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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;63(5):619-26. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2008.19. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Cross-validation of bioelectrical impedance analysis for the assessment of body composition in a representative sample of 6- to 13-year-old children.

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Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



(1) To cross-validate tetra- (4-BIA) and octopolar (8-BIA) bioelectrical impedance analysis vs dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for the assessment of total and appendicular body composition and (2) to evaluate the accuracy of external 4-BIA algorithms for the prediction of total body composition, in a representative sample of Swiss children.


A representative sample of 333 Swiss children aged 6-13 years from the Kinder-Sportstudie (KISS) (ISRCTN15360785). Whole-body fat-free mass (FFM) and appendicular lean tissue mass were measured with DXA. Body resistance (R) was measured at 50 kHz with 4-BIA and segmental body resistance at 5, 50, 250 and 500 kHz with 8-BIA. The resistance index (RI) was calculated as height(2)/R. Selection of predictors (gender, age, weight, RI4 and RI8) for BIA algorithms was performed using bootstrapped stepwise linear regression on 1000 samples. We calculated 95% confidence intervals (CI) of regression coefficients and measures of model fit using bootstrap analysis. Limits of agreement were used as measures of interchangeability of BIA with DXA.


8-BIA was more accurate than 4-BIA for the assessment of FFM (root mean square error (RMSE)=0.90 (95% CI 0.82-0.98) vs 1.12 kg (1.01-1.24); limits of agreement 1.80 to -1.80 kg vs 2.24 to -2.24 kg). 8-BIA also gave accurate estimates of appendicular body composition, with RMSE < or = 0.10 kg for arms and < or = 0.24 kg for legs. All external 4-BIA algorithms performed poorly with substantial negative proportional bias (r> or = 0.48, P<0.001).


In a representative sample of young Swiss children (1) 8-BIA was superior to 4-BIA for the prediction of FFM, (2) external 4-BIA algorithms gave biased predictions of FFM and (3) 8-BIA was an accurate predictor of segmental body composition.

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