Body Composition: Anthropometry

Anthropometry is the scientific study of the human body composition. It is the measure of proportions and physical dimensions of the body.
E.g. body size and shape. Anthropometry plays a role in industrial design, the design of clothing, and ergonomics.

The interpretation of Anthropometric assessments is often by comparison with reference values by age and sex.

Reasons for Measuring Body Size and Composition


  • Growth and development
  • Obesity
  • Wasting

Assessment of body composition

What body compartments can we assess?
There are different compartment models for body composition. • E.g. fat-free mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM) – 2 compartment model etc. • We can also look at skeletal muscle mass specifically.

Hypothesis for Body Composition

1) That a high mid-upper arm circumference and mid-upper arm muscle circumference has zero association with a high grip-strength.
What is being tested here is whether grip-strength correlates with a measure of the upper arm mass (MUAC) and muscle mass (MUAMC). We can also do this with pinch strength.

We can determine the strength of the relationship between grip strength (dependent variable) and upper arm circumference (independent variable) using simple correlation and regression. You can use either SPSS or Excel to calculate this.

2) That BMI calculated from knee-height, ulna length or demi-span is a poor proxy for BMI calculated from height.

You will have calculated height from knee height and demi-span and can also calculate BMI from this. If you want to compare two derivations of BMI (e.g. one based on actual height and one calculated from knee height) then a Test will tell you all you need to know.

3) That body composition fat measured by skinfold and by bioelectric impedance do not differ. Furthermore, a t-Test will do this easily or if you wish to make a rigorous comparison of methods a Bland-Altman plot would work well

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