Nutritional status has a prognostic value in the clinical evolution of patients who are malnourished, are becoming malnourished or are in process of being rehabilitated. The evaluation of nutritional status is based on a comprehensive approach, and includes body composition measurement by bio-impedance analysis (BIA). BIA determines the quantity of body fat-free and fat mass and has a precision around 4%. The reliability of BIA depends on the use of body composition prediction equations that are adapted to the subjects studied and on the inclusion of various anthropometric parameters (weight, height, sex, age, race, etc). BIA remains imprecise in the presence of abnormal distribution of body compartments (ascites, dialysis, lipodystrophy) or of extreme weights (cachexia, severe obesity). Multi-frequency or segmental BIA were developed to overcome hydration abnormalities and variations in body geometry. However, these techniques require further validation. This review discusses the indications and limitations of BIA.