In the present study, the original Behnke somatographic method of depicting body shape has been refined and termed the ponderal equivalent somatogram. Individual girths (g) are converted to ponderal equivalent values (P.E.) as (g/k)2 × height, dm, where k = g / F (F = square root of reference median weight, kg / reference median height, dm). F is 2.000 (reference male) and 1.852 (reference female). A unique feature of the new P.E. somatogram is the separation of girths into muscular (P.E.-M) and non-muscular components (P.E.-NM), and the deviation of each P.E. girth from the reference is computed as the percentage deviation from the opposite P.E. component. Examples of the P.E. somatogram are presented for seven data sets: (1) 11 male world class body builders, (2) 10 female champion body builders, (3) 10 professional ballet dancers, (4) 100 college males, (5) 224 12th grade boys, (6) 245 12th grade girls, and (7) the entering and graduating class of Amherst College, 1882—1886. There is similarity between the total body P.E. and body weight for all the data sets (differences less than 1.5 kg). This illustrates the concurrent validity of the fundamental relation between body weight and a squared matrix of girths multiplied by stature. The ratio of P.E.-M / P.E.-NM serves as a useful index of muscularity and adiposity. A comparison of the P.E. somatogram for the smallest and largest adolescent boys in the 9th and 12th grade, and between the 1890 Amherst Man data and their modem counterparts, demonstrates the applicability of the new ponderal equivalent somatographic approach to evaluate longitudinal and cross sectional growth data.
Katch, Frank I.; Behnke, Albert R.; and Katch, Victor L.
"The Ponderal Somatogram: Evaluation of Body Size and Shape from Anthropometric Girths and Stature,"
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol59/iss3/6