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Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Dec;34(12):2831-8.

Grading body fatness from limited anthropometric data.


Measurements relevant to body fatness are made commonly in clinical settings. However, associations between these measurements and body fatness are poorly known and procedures are needed to facilitate the interpretation of these measurements. Consequently, data from 405 white children and adults aged 6 to 49 yr were used to calculate the correlations between selected anthropometric measurements and estimates of percentage body fat and total body fat. Comparisons among these correlations, for children and adults of each sex, lead to conclusions that the triceps skinfold is the best single indicator of percentage body fat in children and women; weight/stature is the best single indicator of total body fat in girls and adults. In men weight/stature is the best indicator of percentage body fat and in boys the subscapular skinfold is the best indicator of total body fat. Weight/stature can be obtained using a calculator or the nomogram provided. It is recommended that these measures be obtained when there is interest in body fatness and the data compared with percentiles from a nationally representative sample.

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