A Comparison of Methods for the Estimation of Body Composition in Highly Trained Wheelchair Games Players

V. Goosey-Tolfrey*, M. Keil, K. Brooke-Wavell, S. De Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this study was to assess the agreement in body composition measurements of wheelchair athletes using skinfolds, bio-impedance analysis (BIA) and air displacement plethysmography (ADP) relative to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). A secondary objective was to develop new skinfold prediction equations to estimate %fat for this sample. 30 wheelchair games players were recruited and the body composition outcomes of BIA, ADP, and skinfolds were compared to the DXA outcomes by a paired-samples t-test (systematic bias), intraclass correlation (ICC, relative agreement) and Bland-Altman plots (absolute agreement). Regression models to predict the %fat as measured by DXA by the sum of skinfolds or BIA were calculated. Results showed that the predictions of %fat when using BIA, ADP or skinfolds systematically underestimated the %fat mass as measured by the DXA. All ICC values, except for the measurement of fat (kg) by ADP (ICC=0.702), were below 0.7. New prediction models found the -7 skinfolds and calf circumference as the best model to predict %fat (R2=0.84). In conclusion, BIA, ADP and existing skinfolds equations should be used with caution when estimating %fat of wheelchair athletes with substantial body asymmetry, lower body muscular atrophy and upper body muscular development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-806
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • air displacement plethysmography
  • bioelectrical impedance
  • dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • paralympic sport
  • skinfolds


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