The Measurement of Body Composition

  • Robert M. Malina
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 30)


Measurement of the body’s composition is more complex than the measurement of body size. Although studies of height and weight provide valuable information in understanding growth processes, both provide only dimensional data. Height is a linear measurement, while weight is a measure of body mass; as such they provide limited information about body composition. Hence, much effort has been expended in quantifying the body’s composition in vivo (Brožek and Henschel, 1961; Brožek, 1963a, 1965; Garn, 1961, 1963; National Academy of Sciences, 1968; Bergner and Lushbaugh, 1967; Malina, 1969; Forbes, 1978). This report offers an overview of selected methods for measuring body composition, with specific emphasis on those used in growth studies.


Body Composition Lean Body Mass Body Density Total Body Water Skinfold Thickness 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Malina
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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