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Three methods of body composition assessment were used to estimate percent body fat (%BF) in nonobese (n=77) and obese (n=71) women, 20-72 yrs of age, Skinfolds (SKF), bioelectrical impedance (BIA), and near-infrared interactance (NIR) methods were compared to criterion-derived %BF from hydrostatic weighing (%BFHW). Nonobese subjects had < 30% and obese subjects had >30% . The Jackson, Pollock, and Ward SKF equation and the manufacturer's equations for BIA (Valhalla) and NIR (Futrex-5000) were used. For nonobese women there were no significant differences between mean %BFHW and %BFSKF, %BFB1A, and %BFNIR. The rs and SEEs were 0.65 and 3.4% BF for SKF, 0.61 and 3.6% BF for BIA, and 0.58 and 3.7% BF for NIR for nonobese subjects. For obese women, mean %BPHW was significantly underestimated by the SKF, BIA, and NIR methods. The rs and SEEs for the obese group were 0.59 and 3.4% BF for SKF, 0.56 and 3.5% BF for BIA, and 0.36 and 3.9% BF for NIR. The total errors of the equations ranged from 5.6 to 8.0% BF in the obese group. It is concluded that all three field methods accurately estimate %BF for nonobese women; however, none of the methods is suitable for estimating %BF for obese women.
The authors are with the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. Request reprints from Vivian Heyward, Dept. HPPELP, 1157 Johnson Ctr., U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-1251.