Validity of bioelectrical impedance equations for estimating percent fat in males

Joan Eckerson, Jeffrey R. Stout, Terry J. Housh, Glen O. Johnson

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15 Scopus citations


The present study examined the validity of selected bioelectrical impedance (BIA) equations for estimating percent fat (% fat) in males and compared their validity with that of commonly used skinfold equation (Sum3). One-hundred twenty-two Caucasian males (X̄ ± SD = 12.5 ± 5.8% fat, as determined by underwater weighing) served as subject. Selection of the BIA equations was dependent upon meeting at least one of three criteria: 1) developed from a previous interlaboratory investigation, 2) derived on a large sample size (>200), or 3) previously been shown to accurately estimate body composition when cross-validated against a criterion method. Cross- validation analyses included examination of the constant error, standard error or estimate (SEE), r, and total error (TE). The Sum3 equation which resulted in the lowest SEE and TE values (2.6% fat and 3.4% fat, respectively) and the highest validity coefficient (r = 0.90, P <0.001), most accurately estimated % fat and, therefore, was recommended over RIA equations for estimating body composition in Caucasian males with lean to average body fatness. The fat-specific interlaboratory BIA equation of Segal et al. (26) for males ≤20% fat (N = 107) which resulted in a TE value of 3.6% fat and the generalized equation of Guo et al. (10) (TE = 4.1% fat) may, however, be considered as acceptable alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-530
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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