Methodological factors and the prediction of body fat in female athletes

T. G. Lohman, M. L. Pollock, M. H. Slaughter, L. J. Brandon, R. A. Boileau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The effect of skinfold caliper, investigator technique, and various skinfold prediction equations on estimates of body fatness was investigated using college-age female basketball players. Four skinfold calipers, four investigators, and five prediction equations from the literature were selected for study. Skinfolds were obtained on 16 athletes for each of five sites by all four investigators using each caliper. Triceps and subscapular skinfolds showed lessvariation among investigators (mean differences of 1–4 mm) as compared to superailiac, abdomen, and thigh skinfolds (mean differencesof up to 5–6 mm). Differences among investigators were less using the Harpenden and Holtain than for the Lange and Adipometer calipers All three sources of variation–caliper, investigtor, and prediction equations–contributed significantly to the variability in estimates of mean fat content of this sample, which ranged from 14.1–28.1% depending on which of the 80 caliper-investigator-prediction combinations (four calipers, four investigators, and five equations) was used. Using any one prediction equation, the range in mean percent fat due to the 16 caliper-investigator combinations was 7%. The results illustrate the need for standardization of skinfold sites, caliper, and prediction equations for reliable estimation of body composition in a specific population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984


  • Body composition
  • Calipers
  • Female athletes
  • Skinfolds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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