A comparison of skinfolds and leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance for the assessment of body composition in children

Author: Goss F//Robertson R//Williams A//Sward K////
Center for Exercise and Health-Fitness Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. goss@pitt.edu
Conference/Journal: Dyn Med
Date published: 2003
Other: Volume ID: 2 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 5 , Word Count: 176

BACKGROUND: This field-based investigation examined the congruence between skinfolds and bioelectrical impedance in assessing body composition in children. METHODS: Subjects were 162 female and 160 male children 10-15 years of age. Skinfold measures obtained at the triceps and medial calf and a leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance system were used to determine percent fat using child-specific equations. Pearson product moment correlations were performed on the percent fat values obtained using skinfolds and bioelectric impedance for the entire data set. Separate correlations were also conducted on gender and age/gender subsets. Dependent t tests were used to compare the two techniques. RESULTS: Percent fat did not differ between skinfolds and bioelectrical impedance for the total subject pool. Bioelectrical impedance overestimated percent fat in girls by 2.6% and underestimated percent fat in boys by 1.7% (p < 0.01). Correlations between skinfolds and bioelectrical impedance ranged from r = 0.51 to r = 0.90. CONCLUSIONS: Leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance may be a viable alternative field assessment technique that is comparable to skinfolds. The small differences in percent fat between the two techniques may have limited practical significance in school-based health-fitness settings