Document Type



Triplicate measurements of body form (height, mass, neck and waist circumferences, biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfolds) and body density (hydrostatic weighing) have been obtained on 24 moderately obese young women. Other measures were first compared to the commonly accepted hydrostatic criterion of body fatness. The age-specific skinfold formula of Durnin and Womersley provided a better prediction of the hydrostatic criterion than did any combination of the other anthropometric measurements. In the absence of skinfold information, the best anthropometric estimate of body fatness was provided by the waist circumference, although this measurement was only marginally superior to body mass. The usefulness of body mass was not increased by expressing it as a function of stature. All correlations with the hydrostatic criterion were larger for those with above average body fat (5=26.5%) than for thinner subjects (<26.5% body fat). Further statistical analysis showed that all of the simple anthropometric measurements, including body mass and ratios of body mass to height, were most closely correlated with the skinfold than with the hydrostatic estimate of body fat. It is argued that this reflects limitations in the hydrostatic technique, and that at least in thin or moderately obese subjects, skinfold data may provide the average laboratory with a more useful measure of body fatness than underwater weighing.