Aim: The assessment of body composition is an important aspect of the determination of nutritional health. This cross-sectional measurement study aimed to assess the relative validity of a range of field techniques for the measurement of body composition in a sample of older orthopaedic inpatients participating in rehabilitation. Methods: Assessment of percent fat-free mass of 31 adults, aged 65 years and over, was conducted under fasting conditions by two types of bioelectrical impedance analysis (multi-frequency and single frequency-using manufacturer's pre-programmed prediction equation) and compared with percent fat-free mass estimated by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, a reference technique. Data from multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis were also used to calculate percent fat-free mass from the prediction equation of Dey et al. for comparison. Skeletal muscle mass was derived from assessment of corrected arm muscle area and compared with skeletal muscle mass from dual energy X-ray absorptiometry analysis. Bland-Altman analysis was performed to determine the level of agreement between each field technique and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: Mean bias and limits of agreement between single frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry were -5.7% (-24.0, 12.6), between multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (manufacturer's pre-programmed prediction equation) and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry were 1.4% (-13.4, 16.1), between multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (Dey et al. prediction equation) and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry were -5.0% (-16.6, 6.6) and between skeletal muscle mass as derived from assessment of corrected arm muscle area and skeletal muscle mass from dual energy X-ray absorptiometry analysis -0.97 kg (-8.37, 6.43). Conclusion: None of the methods assessed are clinically acceptable for assessment of body composition in older orthopaedic rehabilitation patients; however, estimation of skeletal muscle mass, as derived from corrected arm muscle area, is likely to be of more use in the clinical setting as there is no requirement for patients to be fasted.
- Bioelectrical impedance analysis
- Body composition
- Corrected arm muscle area
- Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry
- Orthopaedic rehabilitation