Skinfold Thickness in Sri Lankan Children

  • V. P. Wickramasinghe


Skinfold thickness has been used as a method of assessment of body composition. It reflects the subcutaneous fat distribution of body. Assessment of the SFT is useful in nutritional assessment as well as in assessing changes in the distribution of fat in the body during treatment of certain illnesses. Furthermore, it provides information on regional body composition, which is important in certain illnesses, such as metabolic syndrome. Prediction equations can be used to assess body density, total FM and percent FM. Skinfold thickness is a user-friendly and cost effective method for assessment of body composition with significant accuracy. There are conventionally agreed sites for the measurement of skinfold thickness and they will represent central as well as peripheral fat distribution in the body. It is important to apply standardized techniques to assess the SFT for accuracy as well as for reproducibility of measurements. Skinfold thickness shows ethnic variations which could be explained by the theories of evolution. Subcutaneous fat distribution also changes with age and gender. It is important to understand such changes when interpreting results of research studies. In Sri Lankan children, the peripheral (assessed by tricep + biceps SFT) and central (assessed by subscapular + suprailiac SFT) subcutaneous fat distribution was lowest at six years of age and increased with age with the increase being more marked in girls. In Sri Lankan children, while total fat mass was increasing with age, the ratio of peripheral SFT: total FM and central SFT: total FM showed a reduction denoting that more fat is deposited as visceral adipose tissue than subcutaneous adipose tissue. Centile charts can be used to interpret measurements of SFT. Furthermore, SFT equations can be used in the assessment of body composition. It is important to first validate these prediction equations on the specific population under study before using them for body composition assessment. It would be most prudent to use prediction equations developed on the same study population as they would give more accurate assessments. SFT-based prediction equations available in the published literature did not provide accurate assessment of body composition in Sri Lankan children; therefore these were developed specifically for Sri Lankan children, which estimated body fat accurately not only in native Sri Lankan children but also in Australian children of Sri Lankan origin.


Obesity Crest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Analysis of variance


Coefficient of variation


Fat Mass


Skinfold thickness


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey




Sub Scapula


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of ColomboColombo 08Sri Lanka

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