Anthropometrics and Body Composition

  • Dympna GallagherEmail author
  • Claire Alexander
  • Adam Paley


The measurement of body composition in clinical practice has relevance for identifying clinical conditions that warrant intervention. When body tissues are lost or gained as a result of an intervention (e.g., nutritional, physical activity, or medication), it can be clinically important and meaningful to quantify the specific changes as a means of monitoring the effects of the intervention. When monitoring the effects of a clinical intervention, knowledge of changes in total body values for fat or lean tissues may not be as informative as region or site-specific values. Body composition measurement methods vary in complexity, cost and precision, and range from simple field-based methods to more technically challenging laboratory-based methods.


Body composition Method Measurement Human In-vivo Fat Adipose Lean Fat-free mass Weight loss 





Appendicular skeletal muscle


Body density


Body height


Bioimpedance analysis


Body mass index


Body weight




Corrected arm girth


Corrected calf girth


Computed tomography


Corrected thigh girth


Cardiovascular disease


Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry






Intermuscular adipose tissue


Magnetic resonance imaging


National Institutes of Health






Skeletal muscle


Total body bone mineral


Total body water


Visceral adipose tissue


Waist–hip ratio


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dympna Gallagher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Claire Alexander
    • 3
  • Adam Paley
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Medicine and Institute of Human NutritionColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Body Composition UnitNew York Obesity Research Center, Columbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyGettysburg CollegeGettysburgUSA
  4. 4.James Clack School of EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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