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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Feb;34(2):282-5.

Effects of clothing on accuracy and reliability of air displacement plethysmography.

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The George Washington University Medical Center, School of Public Health and Health Services, Exercise Science Programs, Washington, DC 20052, USA.



The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the effects of different attire on the accuracy and reliability of estimating percent body fat (%fat) by using air displacement plethysmography (ADP).


Fifteen adults were tested four times on four separate occasions. Each session consisted of estimating %fat with ADP wearing a swimsuit (ADP(SS)), a hospital gown (ADP(HG)), and in the nude (ADP(N)), plus assessment by hydrostatic weighing (HW).


An ANOVA revealed no significant differences within any of the four methods over the 4 days. Intraclass correlation coefficients revealed a strong relationship for repeated measures in ADP(SS) (r = 0.981), ADP(HG) (r = 0.993), ADP(N) (r = 0.989), and HW (r = 0.976). Mean data for each condition indicated a significant underestimation (P < 0.05) of %fat while wearing a hospital gown (13.8 +/- 7.7%) compared with ADP(SS) (22.0 +/- 7.8%), ADP(N) (23.5 +/- 7.5%), and HW (22.6 +/- 6.8%).


Reliability of ADP does not appear to be compromised by clothing; however, wearing a hospital gown significantly affects accuracy, reducing %fat estimations by approximately 9% compared with the recommended swimsuit. Measurement in the nude does not provide more reliable or accurate measures than wearing a swimsuit.

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