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Ann Hum Biol. 2011 Nov;38(6):728-35. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2011.616227. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Arm span as a proxy measure for height and estimation of nutritional status: a study among Dhimals of Darjeeling in West Bengal India.

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  • 1Departamento de Ecologia Humana, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (Cinvestav) del Instituto Politecnico Nacional Mérida, Antigua carretera a Progreso km 6, Mérida 97310, Yucatan, Mexico.



This study aimed to understand the interrelationship between height and arm span and also to estimate nutritional status from arm span.


In an anthropometric survey conducted among the Dhimals (227 males and 223 females, total = 450) of Naxalbari in West Bengal, India, measurements were recorded in age groups ranging between 10-59 years.


Males were taller and had longer arm spans than females. The height-arm span ratio was 0.98-0.99, indicating height to be slightly less than arm span in both sexes. High correlation between these two dimensions was also observed. Regression equations provided a good model for estimating height from arm span (predictor). In all age groups of both sexes, values of standardized coefficient beta exhibited high significance (p ( 0.001). Residuals showed no pattern and were random. No significant difference between height-based body mass index or BMI (body weight/height(2)) and estimated arm span-based BMI (body weight/arm span(2)) was observed in any age group.


Arm span was found to be an effective surrogate measure for BMI.

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