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Accurate assessment of neonatal body composition is essential to studies investigating neonatal nutrition or developmental origins of obesity. Bioelectrical impedance analysis or bioimpedance analysis is inexpensive, non-invasive and portable, and is widely used in adults for the assessment of body composition. There are currently no prediction algorithms using bioimpedance analysis in neonates that have been directly validated against measurements of fat-free mass (FFM). The aim of the study was to evaluate the use of bioimpedance analysis for the estimation of FFM and percentage of body fat over the first 4 months of life in healthy infants born at term, and to compare these with estimations based on anthropometric measurements (weight and length) and with skinfolds. The present study was an observational study in seventy-seven infants. Body fat content of infants was assessed at birth, 6 weeks, 3 and 4·5 months of age by air displacement plethysmography, using the PEA POD body composition system. Bioimpedance analysis was performed at the same time and the data were used to develop and test prediction equations for FFM. The combination of weight+sex+length predicted FFM, with a bias of < 100 g and limits of agreement of 6-13 %. Before 3 months of age, bioimpedance analysis did not improve the prediction of FFM or body fat. At 3 and 4·5 months, the inclusion of impedance in prediction algorithms resulted in small improvements in prediction of FFM, reducing the bias to < 50 g and limits of agreement to < 9 %. Skinfold measurements performed poorly at all ages.
The University of Queensland, Perinatal Research Centre, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The British journal of nutrition
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