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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41752. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041752. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Harmonization process and reliability assessment of anthropometric measurements in the elderly EXERNET multi-centre study.

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  • 1GENUD (Growth, Exercise, NUtrition and Development) Research Group, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.



The elderly EXERNET multi-centre study aims to collect normative anthropometric data for old functionally independent adults living in Spain.


To describe the standardization process and reliability of the anthropometric measurements carried out in the pilot study and during the final workshop, examining both intra- and inter-rater errors for measurements.


A total of 98 elderly from five different regions participated in the intra-rater error assessment, and 10 different seniors living in the city of Toledo (Spain) participated in the inter-rater assessment. We examined both intra- and inter-rater errors for heights and circumferences.


For height, intra-rater technical errors of measurement (TEMs) were smaller than 0.25 cm. For circumferences and knee height, TEMs were smaller than 1 cm, except for waist circumference in the city of Cáceres. Reliability for heights and circumferences was greater than 98% in all cases. Inter-rater TEMs were 0.61 cm for height, 0.75 cm for knee-height and ranged between 2.70 and 3.09 cm for the circumferences measured. Inter-rater reliabilities for anthropometric measurements were always higher than 90%.


The harmonization process, including the workshop and pilot study, guarantee the quality of the anthropometric measurements in the elderly EXERNET multi-centre study. High reliability and low TEM may be expected when assessing anthropometry in elderly population.

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