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Topic 04: Anthropometry and Body Composition Measurement

Laboratory Manual Section 04

HPHE 6720 Dr. Cheatham

Importance of Body Composition General Principles
Basic principles

Anthropometric Methods
Body Mass Index (BMI) Circumferences / Waist to Hip Ratio Skinfold Measurements

Densitometry Methods
Hydrostatic (Underwater) Weighing Plethysmography (Air Displacement)

Other Methods
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)

Interpretation of Results

Definition: Relative proportion of fat and fatfree tissue in the body. Clinical significance: Obesity is correlated to an increased risk of:
Coronary artery disease (CAD) Noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) Hypertension (HTN) Certain cancers Hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol)

Why Do We Measure BC?

Excess body fat is associated with:
Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, Stroke, CAD, Hyperlipidemia

To assess the decrease in body fat weight that occurs in response to a weight management program. To help athletes determine the best body composition for performance. To monitor fat and fat-free weight in patients with disease. To track long-term changes that occur in body fat and fat-free mass with aging.

Basic Principles

Basic Principles

Percent Body Fat (%BF)
The percentage of the bodyweight that is adipose tissue

Fat Weight (FW)

The total weight of the adipose tissue

Fat-Free Weight (FFW)

The total weight of everything that is not fat

Lean Body Mass (LBW)

More so refers to the weight of muscle

Deviation in body weight from some standard or ideal weight in relation to height

Undesirable percent body fat (difference males vs. females)

Surplus of adipose tissue resulting from excessive energy intake relative to energy expenditure

Body Composition Techniques

Definition: Measurement of the human body Techniques include:
Height and weight (body mass index [BMI], waist-to-hip ratio [WHR]) Circumferences and girths Skinfolds Bioelectrical impedance analysis Hydrostatic weighing

Purpose: To evaluate body weight and composition in the health and fitness field, often to establish an individuals target, desirable, or optimal weight

Anthropometry - Height and Weight

Anthropometry - Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index = __Weight in kg__ (Height in meters)2 Statistics:
For most people, obesity-related health problems increase beyond a BMI of 25.0 In increased risk of hypertension, TC/HDL ratio, CAD and mortality rate are associated with a BMI 30

It is difficult for clients to interpret weight loss and gain There is no differentiation between fat weight and fatfree weight There is only a modest correlation with percent body fat determined by hydrostatic weight

Anthropometry - Body Mass Index (BMI)

Anthropometry - Body Mass Index (BMI)

Anthropometry - Circumferences
Pre-post changes in body measurements
Useful for weight management programs/motivation for clients/patients

Waist circumference used along with BMI can be used as an estimate of disease risk (ACSM Manual, Table 4-3) Estimate % BF (limited accuracy) Calculate Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Easily learned Quickly administered Quantifies changes in muscle with specific training (muscle girth size) Easy to document changes in body size

Anthropometry - Waist Circumference

Anthropometry - Circumferences - Sites

Anthropometry - Circumferences - Sites

Anthropometry - Circumferences - Procedures

Anthropometry - Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Comparison between the circumference of the waist and hips, representing the persons distribution of body fat


Waist circumference (cm) Hip circumference (cm) Waist circumference alone may be used as an indicator of health risk Truncal adiposity increases the risk of chronic disease

Anthropometry - Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The pattern of body fat distribution is an important predictor of the health risks of obesity.
Android (male pattern)
Trunk/abdominal fat Increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, CAD, premature death

Gynoid (female pattern

Hip and thigh

Anthropometry - Waist-to-Hip Ratio

ACSM Box 4-1 (Waist) ACSM Box 4-1 (Buttocks/Hips)

Health risks are very high for the young when:

Males > 0.95

Females > 0.86

Anthropometry - Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Waist Measurement

Hip Measurement

Anthropometry - Skinfold Assessment

Principle ~33% of our total body fat lies directly beneath the skin (subcutaneous) Therefore, by measuring skinfold thickness we can estimate body density and % body fat Accuracy ( 4-5%)

Anthropometry - Skinfold Assessment - Sites

Anthropometry - Skinfold Assessment - Sites

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Chest)

Diagonal fold; one-half the distance between the anterior axillary line and the nipple (men), or one-third of the distance between the anterior axillary line and the nipple (women)

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Abdomen)

Vertical fold; 2 cm to the right side of the umbilicus

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Thigh)

Vertical fold; on the anterior midline of the thigh, mid-way between the proximal border of the patella and the inguinal crease (hip)

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Tricep)

Vertical fold; on the posterior midline of the upper arm, halfway between the acromion and olecranon processes, with the arm held freely to the side of the body

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Suprailiac)

Diagonal fold; in line with the natural angle of the iliac crest taken in the anterior axillary line immediately superior to the iliac crest

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Midaxillary)

Vertical fold; on the midaxillary line at the level of the xiphoid process of the sternum.

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Subscapular)

Diagonal fold (at a 45 degree angle); 1 to 2 cm below the inferior angle of the scapula

Anthropometry - Skinfold Sites (Calf)

Vertical fold; at the maximum circumference of the calf on the midline of its medial border

Anthropometry - Skinfolds Assessment - Procedures

Firmly grasp all subcutaneous fat (without muscle) Use two fingers (thumb and index) about 8 cm apart, perpendicular to long axis of site 1 cm above the site to be measured Release the scissor grip of the caliper but support its weight while measuring no longer than 1 to 2 seconds to the nearest 0.5 mm Measure each site at least two times, rotating through the sites (should be within 1 to 2 mm) Use the average of each skinfold site for use in the regression formula

Anthropometry - Skinfolds Assessment - Procedures

Anthropometry - Skinfolds Assessment - Procedures

Note: Make sure to carry body density out to three decimal places.

Anthropometry - Skinfolds Assessment - Procedures

Note: Make sure to carry body density out to three decimal places.

Anthropometry - Skinfolds Assessment - Procedures

Converting Body Density to % Body Fat

Generalized Equations:
% Fat = (457 / Body Density) 414.2 (Brozek) % Fat = (495 / Body Density) 450 (Siri)

Anthropometry - Skinfolds Assessment - Procedures

Densitometry - Hydrostatic Weighing

Measurement of Density
Density = mass/volume
Mass = The bodyweight we measure in air on the scale Volume = Why we are doing hydrostatic weighing

Use of hydrostatic weighing to measure volume

Based on Archimedes Principle:
"When a solid body is partially or completely immersed in water, the apparent loss in weight will be equal to the weight of the displaced liquid. By knowing the density of water, it is easy to go from weight to volume.

Densitometry - Hydrostatic Weighing

Densitometry - Hydrostatic Weighing

Considered the Gold Standard Measurement of Body Density
Underwater, muscle and bone is more dense than fat Therefore, the more muscle/bone, the more the subject will weigh underwater or vice versa By weighing the subject in the air AND underwater, we can measure BODY DENSITY From body density, % body fat is calculated

Accuracy ( 3%)

Densitometry - Hydrostatic Weighing

More Muscle

Same Weight

More Fat

Densitometry - Hydrostatic Weighing

BWAIR Body Density =


BWAIR (BWUWW Tare) H2O Density

- (RV +100)

BWAIR = Bodyweight in air in grams BWUW = Bodyweight underwater in grams Tare = Chair weight (and any other apparatus) in grams H2O Density = Density of water at specific temperature RV = Residual volume in mL Residual Volume (males) = (0.027 * Ht) + (0.017 * age) - 3.45 Residual Volume (females) = (0.032 * Ht) + (0.009 * age) - 3.90 Residual Volume (both) = 0.24 x FVC

% Body Fat = (457 body density) 414.2 (Brozek)

Densitometry - Air Displacement Plethysmography

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

The volume of fat-free tissue is proportional to the electrical conductivity of the body Fat (tissue with little water: 14% to 22%) is a poor electrical conductor Lean tissue (mostly water: >90%) is a good electrical conductor

Accuracy is highly variable

Greatly affected by caffeine, alcohol, fluid intake

Z R 2 Xc 2

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Impedance (Z): A measure of how an electrical current is slowed or stopped as it passes through a material. Impedance has two components: Resistance (R) and Reactance (Xc). Approximately 95% of impedance is determined by resistance. Resistance (R): A measure of the amount of electrical current a substance will stop. Reactance (Xc): A measure of a materials ability to slow an electrical current. Therefore, the equation for Impedance is:

Z R Xc

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Principle (contd):
A BIA analyzer sends a weak electrical current via two electrodes through the body. That current is then detected by two other electrodes. The extent to which the electrical current is impeded or resisted is related to the type and amount of tissue through which it passes. Water is a very good conductor of electricity and has a very low level of resistance. Adipose tissue has a very low water content (~20%) and thus has a high level of resistance or impedance. Muscle has a very high water content (~75%) and thus has a low level of resistance or impedance.

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Principle (contd):
Essentially, BIA measures an individuals total body water based on the principle of the following equation: Volume = p x L2 / Z Where:
p = a constant representing a materials ability to impede an electrical current at a given temperature L = Length (or in the case of humans, height) Z = Impedance

Finally, since the approximate water content of adipose tissue and fat-free mass (muscle, bone, fluid, etc.) are known, the measurement of total body water can be converted to fat-free mass and then fat-mass and % body fat can be calculated.

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

BIA Procedures
No eating or drinking within 4 hours of the test No exercise within 12 hours of the test Urinate completely within 30 minutes of the test No alcohol consumption in the previous 48 hours No diuretics in the previous 7 days Limited use of diuretic agents before the test

BIA Procedures
Pre-Test Procedures:
Record age, gender, height, weight, activity level, frame size

Performing the test:

Calibrate the instrument Prepare the subject for the test by having them lie down on the table
Have subject remove all jewelry, right sock and shoe Arms and legs should not touch each other

Clean electrode sites with alcohol pad, allow to dry Attach electrodes and wires Allow values to stabilize (~30 seconds) Enter information into BIA software

BIA Procedures

BIA Procedures

Summary of Methods

Interpretation of Data
Based on BMI:

Interpretation of Data
Based on Circumferences:
Pre- to Post-Changes Waist Circumference Waist-to-Hip Ratio


Waist Circumference

Interpretation of Data
Based on Skinfolds, BIA, any technique that provides a calculation of %BF
Pre- to Post-Changes Population Norms Calculations of Fat-Weight, Fat-Free Weight, Ideal Body Weight

Interpretation of Data

Interpretation of Data
% BF Population Norms
See previous slide % BF considered satisfactory for health:
Men: 10 to 22% Women: 20 to 32%

Interpretation of Data
Fat Weight:
FW = BW x % BF % BF needs to be in decimal form (i.e. 25% = 0.25)

Fat-Free Weight:
FFW = BW x (1-%BF) OR FFW = BW - FW % BF needs to be in decimal form

Ideal Body Weight:

IBW = FFW / (1 Desired %BF) Desired %BF must be in decimal form

Interpretation of Data
Ideal Body Weight (contd)
How do you pick a desired %BF?
Use population norm charts Based on attainable or incremental goals Based on %BF considered satisfactory for health

Laboratory Exercise
Each student will collect the following data on him or herself using the following procedures:
BMI, Skinfolds, Circumferences, BIA

At least six students (hopefully more) will undergo underwater weighing

Research Question
Is there a statistically significant difference in %BF, FW, FFW between the three methods:
UWW vs. Skinfolds UWW vs. BIA Skinfolds vs. BIA

What is the correlation between the three methods for these same variables?