Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Human Performance and Health Education

First Advisor

Dr. Mary L. Dawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Roger Zabik

Third Advisor

Dr. Debra Berkey

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This investigation compared two body fat assessment techniques, skinfold thicknesses and bioelectrical impedance, in an elderly population. Ten healthy adults and ten critically ill adults, aged 55-93 years, were tested. The body fat measurements were taken over a two-week period. Electrolyte levels, sodium and potassium, and hydration status were monitored. Intraclass reliability coefficients were calculated using a repeated measures analysis design (ANOVA). Bioelectrical impedance was not found to be a reliable method for estimating body composition in this study; reliability coefficients were R =.83, R =.98, R =.83, and R =.32 for healthy males, healthy females, critically ill males, and critically ill females, respectively. The electrolytes and hydration status were within normal ranges and, therefore, were not accountable for the unreliable results of bioelectrical impedance. In this study, bioelectrical impedance was not a valid or reliable method for estimating percent body fat in an older population, healthy or ill.