Air displacement plethysmography: Validation in overweight and obese subjects

Samir R. Ginde, Allan Geliebter, Frederick Rubiano, Analiza M. Silva, Jack Wang, Stanley Heshka, Steven B. Heymsfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Objective: Patients with moderate and severe obesity, because of their physical size, often cannot be evaluated with conventional body composition measurement systems. The BOD POD air displacement plethysmography (ADP) system can accommodate a large body volume and may provide an opportunity for measuring body density (Db) in obese subjects. Db can be used in two- or three-compartment body composition models for estimating total body fat in patients with severe obesity. The purpose of this study was to compare D b measured by ADP to Db measured by underwater weighing (UWW) in subjects ranging from normal weight to severely obese. Research Methods and Procedures: Db was measured with UWW and BOD POD in 123 subjects (89 men and 34 women; age, 46.5 ± 16.9 years; BMI, 31.5 ± 7.3 kg/m2); 15, 70, and 10 subjects were overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30 kg/m2), obese (30 ≤ BMI < 40 kg/m2), and severely obese (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), respectively. Results: There was a strong correlation between Db (kilograms per liter) measured by UWW and ADP (r = 0.94, standard error of the estimate = 0.0073 kg/L, p < 0.001). Similarly, percent fat estimates from UWW and ADP using the two-compartment Siri equation were highly correlated (r = 0.94, standard error of the estimate = 3.58%, p < 0.001). Bland-Altman analysis showed no significant bias between Db measured by UWW and ADP. After controlling for Db measured by ADP, no additional between-subject variation in Db by UWW was accounted for by subject age, sex, or BMI. Discussion: Body density, an important physical property used in human body composition models, can be accurately measured by ADP in overweight and obese subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1232-1237
Number of pages6
JournalObesity Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Body composition
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Underwater weighing


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