Purpose of review: To review various methods for measuring body composition by bioimpedance and their limitations, as well as available impedance meters, including body fat analyzers for home use.
Recent findings: Bioimpedance spectroscopy, which requires multifrequency impedance meters, is preferable for fluid volume measurements, especially extracellular fluid, whereas bioimpedance analysis at 50 kHz is more widely used for measuring fat-free mass. A method for using bioimpedance spectroscopy equations with 50 kHz impedance meters has been recently proposed and successfully tested. Low cost foot-to-foot impedance meters (body fat analyzers) with plantar electrodes on a body scale, that are easy and fast to use, have been compared with medical impedance meters and with dual X-ray absorptiometry measurements and found reasonably accurate, except for individuals with very low or high BMI.
Summary: Body composition by bioimpedance is gaining acceptance in nutrition, hemodialysis, gerontology and sports medicine. Body fat analyzers that have been validated by comparison with dual x-ray absorptiometry could be useful to general practitioners, nutritionists and cardiologists.