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J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jul;23(4):1068-76. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181aa1cd0.

Anthropometric estimations of percent body fat in NCAA Division I female athletes: a 4-compartment model validation.

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Metabolic and Body Composition Laboratories, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA.


Anthropometric equations, based on 2-compartment models, have been routinely used to estimate body composition in female college athletes; however, these equations are not without error. In an attempt to decrease the error associated with anthropometric equations, updated equations were developed using multiple-compartment models, although the validity of these equations has not yet been established. The purpose of the current investigation was to determine the validity of the updated anthropometric equations and compare them with previously validated generalized equations for estimating percent fat (%fat) in female athletes. Twenty-nine white female NCAA Division I athletes (20 +/- 1 years) volunteered to have their %fat estimated using anthropometric measurements. Skinfold equations included generalized and updated equations and a height and weight-based equation. %fat values were compared with a criterion 4-compartment model. All equations produced low total error (TE) (< or =3.38%fat) and SEE values (< or =2.97%fat) and high r values (r > or = 0.78). The 2 updated skinfold equations produced the highest constant error (CE) values, but the tightest limits of agreement (< or = -1.58 +/- 4.86%fat; CE +/- 2SD) compared with the 3 generalized Jackson et al. equations (< or =0.92 +/- 5.34%fat), whereas the limits of agreement for the height and weight-based equation (+/- 6.00%fat) were the widest. Compared with the updated skinfold equations, the generalized Jackson et al. skinfold equations produced nearly identical TE values. Results suggest that the updated skinfold equations are valid but not superior to the generalized Jackson et al. equations, and the height and weight-based equation of Fornetti et al. is not recommended due to the large individual error in this population. Additionally, more than 3 skinfold sites did not improve %fat values. Therefore, the Jackson et al. sum of 3 skinfold equation is the suggested skinfold equation in the white female NCAA Division I athletes.

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