Predictive accuracy of bioimpedance in estimating fat-free mass of African-American women

Barbara E. Ainsworth, Lisa M. Stolarczyk, Vivian H. Heyward, Carolynn B. Berry, Melinda L. Irwin, Laura M. Mussulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to identify the BIA (bioimpedance analysis) equation that yields the best estimate of body composition for 122 premenopausal African-American women (18-40 yr). Total body density (Db) was determined by hydrodensitometry at residual lung volume and converted to %BF(HD) using the Siri (31) formula. %BF(HD) was used to calculate reference fat- free mass (FFM). Resistance and reactance were measured using a Valhalla bioimpedance analyzer. The predictive accuracy of generalized, age-gender, race specific, fatness-specific, and the Valhalla manufacturer's BIA equation was compared. There were significant correlations between FFM(HD) and FFM(BIA) for all equations (r = 0.85 to 0.92). Except for the modified Segal fatness-specific equations, the prediction errors (SEE and E) exceeded 2.8 kg. For individuals, the %BF derived from FFM(BIA) predicted by the modified Segal equations was within ± 3.5% BF for 69% of the subjects. This percentage was less (34-53%) for other equations. These results suggest that the predictive accuracy of BIA for estimating body composition of African American women is improved when fatness-specific equations are used. We recommend using the modified Segal fatness-specific equations to assess FFM and %BF of premenopausal African-American women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-787
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1997



  • African American
  • Body composition
  • Body fatness
  • Obesity
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

Ainsworth, B. E., Stolarczyk, L. M., Heyward, V. H., Berry, C. B., Irwin, M. L., & Mussulman, L. M. (1997). Predictive accuracy of bioimpedance in estimating fat-free mass of African-American women. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 29(6), 781-787.