Validity of “generalized” equations for body composition analysis in male athletes


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Abstract

W.E. SINNING, D.G. DOLNY, K.D. LITTLE, L.N. CUNNINGHAM, A. RACANIELLO, S.F. SICONOLFI, and J.L. SHOLES. Validity of “generalized” equations for body composition analysis in male athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 124–130, 1985. Equations by Durnin and Womersley [(D-W), Br. J. Nutr 32:77, 1974], Jackson and Pollock [(J-P), Br. J. Nutr. 40:497, 1978], and Lohman [(L), Human Biol, 53:181, 1981] for estimating body density (BD) purportedly overcome the problem of specificity by accounting for age and/or the curvilinear relationship between skinfolds (SF) and BD. Their equations were validated on 265 male athletes against percent fat measured by underwater weighing [(UWW); mean ± SD = 9.2 ± 4.4%]. Equations by Sloan [(S), J. Appl. Physiol 23:311, 1967], Katch and McArdle [(K-M), Human. Biol. 45:445, 1973], and Forsyth and Sinning [(F-S), Med. Sci. Sports 5:174, 1973] were included as “linear regression models” to compare to the curvilinear models of J-P, D-W, and L. Differences between UWW and estimated mean values ranged from −1.1 to +5.9%; correlations ranged from 0.58 to 0.85; SEE ranged from ±2.41 to ±3.61%; and total error (E) ranged from 2.38 to 6.97%. The seven D-W equations overestimated mean percent fat by from 3.9 to 5.9%. The K-M, S, and L equations overestimated by 1.3, 0.5, and 1.7%, respectively. The F-S equations overestimated by 2.4 to 3.8%. Of the 21 equations evaluated, only 3 by J-P gave estimates not significantly different from UWW percent fat. Regression analyses of the relationship between UWW (y) and estimated (x) percent fat values from those equations were: y = 1.037 x − 0.08 ± 2.38, E = 2.38, r = 0.84; 0.869 x + 1.36 ± 2.45, E = 2.51, r = 0.83; 1.107 x − 1.14 ± 2.51, E = 2.53, r = 0.82. It was concluded that the three J-P equations were most accurate and suitable for body composition screening of male athletes. However, the estimations by the S, K-M, and L equations were within the error of the method.

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