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Direct measurement of body surface area (Ab) was made on 20 male adult Nigerians of African descent by coating and planimetry. The results were compared with estimated Ab values obtained using six widely accepted height and weight prediction equations. The results show that existing formulas do not predict surface areas of our subjects accurately. Measured Ab values of our subjects were 6-22% greater than predicted values obtained from non-African nomograms. Using these results, we computed new variables for height and weight formulas that accurately predict the surface area of Africans. The closest fit to measured values is given by the equation

Ab(m2) = 0.001315 x Height1.2139(cm) x Weight0.2620(kg) ± 0.04815 (SEE).

The new variables are significantly different from those of existing equations. Our height variable is several times greater than the weight variable and reflects a greater importance of height than weight in determining the surface area of Africans than is the case with Caucasians.