A Comparison of Bioimpedance Analysis vs. Dual X-ray Absorptiometry for Body Composition Assessment in Postpartum Women and Non-Postpartum Controls

Academic Article


  • Postpartum fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) may be informative predictors of future disease risk among women; hence, there is growing use of bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to quantify FFM and FM among postpartum women due to the quick, non-invasive, and inexpensive nature of BIA. Despite this, very few studies have examined BIA’s performance, and it remains unclear as to whether specific BIA equations are needed for postpartum women. To explore these questions, we measured total body FFM and FM with a multi-frequency, segmental BIA, and dual-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in (1) women at one and four months postpartum (n = 21); and (2) height- and weight-matched non-postpartum women (controls, n = 21). BIA was compared to DXA using Deming regression models, paired t-tests, and Bland–Altman plots. Between-group comparisons were performed using an analysis of variance models. The mean difference between DXA and BIA was 1.2 ± 1.7 kg FFM (p < 0.01) and −1.0 ± 1.7 kg FM (p < 0.05) in postpartum women at both time points. The measurements of longitudinal changes in FFM and FM were not significantly different between BIA and DXA. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in BIA’s performance in postpartum vs. non-postpartum women (p = 0.29), which suggests that population-specific equations are not needed for postpartum women. The results of this study suggest that BIA is a suitable method to assess postpartum body composition among women at one and four months postpartum, using existing age-, race-, and sex-adjusted equations.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Garr Barry V; Martin SL; Chandler-Laney P; Carter EB; Worthington CS
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 20