Clinical Sports Medicine International
 
 
 The Journal Of All Movement Related Medical Topics In Health & Disease
 
     
 impressum 
CSMI 2013

Estimation of subcutaneous fat in men – Part 1: Accuracy of 3 to 9 point measurements.

Busse M, Dräger M, Schätzel M, Thomas M, Schulze A, Falz R

Institute of Sports Medicine, University of Leipzig1 (Director: Prof. M. Busse, MD)

Summary

Busse M, Dräger M, Schätzel M, Thomas M, Schulze A, Falz R. Estimation of subcutaneous fat in men – Part 1: Accuracy of 3 to 9 point measurements. Clinical Sports Medicine International (CSMI) 2013, 6(1): 18-20.

Purpose: 1. To measure whole body subcutaneous fat in men. 2. To develop formula for the calculation of whole body subcutaneous fat using three to nine measuring points.

Materials and methods: In 25 men, aged 23 to 75 (46±14) years, total body subcutaneous fat (“WBSF”) was measured using a skin fold calliper. In each person, 116 square sectors with a mean area of 10 square cm were marked on the skin. Subcutaneous fat of each square sector was repeatedly measured using a calliper. No measurements of head, feet, hands and genital area were done. Additionally skin fold measurements were taken at the typical points for whole body fat measurement using the calliper method (“CM-points”). TBSF was calculated by adding up the subcutaneous fat of all 116 square sectors. Then an attempt was made to calculate TBSF from either CM-points or a best fit of other skin locations. Both, CM-method and best fit methods, were calculated by means of a forward and backward regression analyses.

Results: Mean body weight of the subjects was 88 ± 15 kg. Whole body subcutaneous fat was 9,11 ± 4,03 kg (10.4% of whole body mass). The estimation of TBSF using CM-points markedly overestimated real TBSF values together with a large range of standard deviation of the differences. The regression analyses of various skin fold measurements proved the use of three points: scapula, tigh and calf. The resulting regression is:  TBSF(calc) = 0.036 + 0.431*scapula + 0.546*tigh + 0.374*calf. From the regression analyses three other points were detected: medium back, vastus lat., biceps. The respective regression was: TBSF(calc) = 0.205 + 0.389*back + 0.692*vastus lat. +0.553*biceps. Mean difference from real TBSF values was zero in both formula, the latter regression showed even smaller standard deviations of the difference.

Conclusion: In 25 men subcutaneous fat was estimated using 3-point methods with a tolerable variation from real values. The common points of calliper skin fold measurement should not be used to estimate subcutaneous fat.

Keywords: subcutaneous fat, total body fat

 

 

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