Practical Methods of Measuring Body Composition

  • Andrew S. Jackson
Part of the Sports Medicine and Health Science book series (SMHS)


Body composition is an important component of exercise prescription and health management programs. Many methods are available for measuring body density. Laboratory methods include underwater weighing, volume displacement, radiographic analysis, potassium-40, isotropic dilution, and ultrasound techniques [1]. These laboratory techniques are valid but not practical for mass testing because they are time consuming and require considerable equipment, space, and trained technicians. A common field test of body composition is to use anthropometric measurements such as skinfold fat, body circumferences, and body diameters. The anthropometric methods are less valid but more practical for mass testing. Various combinations of anthropometric variables are combined into a multiple regression equation with a function to predict a criterion. Hydrostatically measured body density has been the laboratory criterion most often used.


Body Composition Body Density Mass Testing Anthropometric Variable Measure Body Composition 
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© Spectrum Publications, Inc. 1984

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  • Andrew S. Jackson

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