Human biologists have traditionally utilized anthropometric indicators of body composition. Many researchers have attempted to develop prediction equations to allow estimates of whole body parameters of body composition from anthropometric dimensions. However, most of these studies have been plagued by problems of research design, rendering the equations essentially useless. Analysis of the relationship between anthropometric indicators of body composition and densitometric estimates of body fatness suggests that accurate estimates of whole body composition from anthropometry are not possible. Differences in the correlation matrices of similar samples may result in significant differences in estimated parameters of body composition, while different indicators may be more reliable for males or for females. The errors of estimate preclude usable estimates of body composition in individuals. All of these findings suggest that investigators should utilize anthropometries directly instead of using them to estimate whole body composition. The use of such equations in research which has hypothesized a critical body fatness as necessary for reproductive maturity in females renders this hypothesis unacceptable.
Johnston, Francis E.
"Relationships Between Body Composition and Anthropometry,"
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol54/iss2/7