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Leg-to-Leg Bioelectrical Impedance Method in Assessing Body Composition Change in Obese Women


Practical Implications:

  • Tanita BIA gave similar results as underwater weighing when estimating the fat-free mass (FFM) of obese and non-obese females.
  • BIA gave similar results as underwater weighing when estimating the change in fat mass (FM) through diet alone or when combined with exercise



This study had two objectives: to determine the validity of the leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance (BIA) system in 1) estimating body composition in obese and non-obese women cross-sectionally, and 2) assessing changes in body composition in obese females in response to 12 weeks of energy restriction and/or exercise training


Subjects included 98 moderately obese females (43.2±0.6% fat, 45.0±1.1 years) and 27 non-obese controls (24.0±1.5% fat, 43.5±2.5 years). Obese subjects were randomly divided into one of four groups, with fat-free mass (FFM), fat mass (FM) and percent body fat estimated pre and post-12 weeks intervention from BIA and underwater weighing. The four groups were diet only (D) (4.19-5.44 MJ/day), exercise only (E)(five 45 min. sessions/week at 78.5±0.5% maximum heart rate), both exercise and diet (ED) and controls (C) (no diet or exercise).


No difference was found between underwater weighing and BIA in estimating the FFM of obese and non-obese females (all subjects combined, r=0.78, P<0.001, SEE=3.7kg), or in estimating decreases in FM during 12 weeks of energy restriction and/or exercise among obese subjects [F(3.85)=1.45, P=0.233].


The leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance system accurately assessed FFM in both obese and non-obese females, and changes in FM through diet alone or when combined with exercise.

*Reprinted from Tanita Corporation of America, Inc.

Source: Alan C.l Utter, David C. Nieman, Angela N. Ward, Diane E. Butterworth
Human performance lab, Appalachian State University, North Carolina
Funded byb the Cybex Grant from the American College of Sports Medicine
"In-Press" with the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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