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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013, Article ID 628428, 6 pages
Review Article

Measuring Body Composition in Individuals with Intellectual Disability: A Scoping Review

Department of Human Kinetics, St. Francis Xavier University, P.O. Box 5000, Antigonish, NS, Canada B2G 2W5

Received 29 November 2012; Revised 3 March 2013; Accepted 19 March 2013

Academic Editor: Analiza M. Silva

Copyright © 2013 Amanda Faith Casey. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Research shows obesity to be more prevalent amongst individuals with intellectual disability (ID) making correct measurement of body composition crucial. This study reviewed the validity and reliability of methods used for assessing body composition in individuals with ID. Methods. Authors conducted electronic searches through PubMed (1990 to present) and PsycINFO (1990 to present) and assessed relevant articles independently based on scoping review guidelines. Reviewers included primary research related to the validity and reliability of body composition measures on individuals with ID. Results. Searches identified six articles assessing body composition methods used on individuals with ID including body mass index (BMI), skinfold thickness, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), waist circumference, tibia length, and anthropometric girth measurements. BMI and waist circumference appear suitable measures but skinfold thickness measurements may not be advisable due to participants' noncompliance resulting in a lack of precision and inaccurate results. Conclusions. The current literature contains too few well-conducted studies to determine the precision and validity of body composition measures on individuals with ID. There may be a need to devise further regression equations that apply to individuals with specific types of ID in order to increase the reliability and validity of body composition measurements.