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Determination of body composition of people living with HIV/AIDS: A comparison of air displacement plethysmography with Tanita segmental body composition analyzer

Y. Markos
D. Yilma
T. Gobena
I. Tadesse


Background: Body composition (BC) assessment of patients living with HIV is frequently done by a variety of methods. During the past decades, several new technologic developments have introduced different methods of BC assessment. Yet, simple, accurate, and noninvasive methods for assessing BC are needed in clinical, community, and research settings.

Objective: To compare BC assessed by air displacement plethysmography (ADP) with that assessed by Tanita segmental BC analyzer in patients with HIV/AIDS.

Method: Eighty-eight adult (> 18 years) HIV/AIDS patients who were on follow up at anti-retroviral clinic in Jimma university medical centre were randomly selected. ADP and Tanita segmental BC analyzer were used to collect data. Agreement between the methods was tested using paired t-test, Pearson’s correlation, and linear regression.

Result: Thirty-nine (57.4%) of the patients were female and 29 (42.6%) were male. About 41(60.3%) of them were malnourished. The patients who were in stage one of the disease accounted 83.8%. Mean value of %BF measured by Tanita segmental BC analyzer was significantly lower than %BF measured by the ADP (mean difference = 3.2, p < 0.001). Regardless of the difference in mean, %BF assessed by the two methods were strongly correlated (r = 0.98, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Estimates of %BF by Tanita segmental BC analyzer and ADP in people living with HIV/AIDS in Southwest Ethiopia showed significant difference. Tanita segmental BC analyzer significantly underestimated %BF in HIV/AIDS patients.