Comparison of Bioelectrical Impedance and BMI in Predicting Obesity-Related Medical Conditions

Authors

  • Kamali Willett,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Rui Jiang,

    1. Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, New York.
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  • Elizabeth Lenart,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Donna Spiegelman,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Walter Willett

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • See Appendix for list of study centers.

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed, in part, by the payment of page charges. This article must, therefore, be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: elenart@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

Objective: To determine the relative validity of specific bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) prediction equations and BMI as predictors of physiologically relevant general adiposity.

Research Methods and Procedures: Subjects were >12, 000 men and women from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey population. We examined the correlations between BMI and percentage body fat based on 51 different predictive equations, blood pressure, and blood levels of glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, which are known to reflect adiposity, while controlling for other determinants of these physiological measures.

Results: BMI consistently had one of the highest correlations across biological markers, and no BIA-based measure was superior. Percent body fat estimated from BIA was minimally predictive of the physiological markers independent of BMI.

Discussion: These results suggest that BIA is not superior to BMI as a predictor of overall adiposity in a general population.

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