Development of New Demi-Span Equations From a Nationally Representative Sample of Older People to Estimate Adult Height

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To develop new equations for the calculation of body mass index (BMI) of adults aged 65 and older for when an actual height measurement may not be possible or reflect attained height because of loss of height with aging or conditions such as kyphosis or osteoporosis.


Cross-sectional, nationally representative samples; data from 1994, 2000 2005, and 2007.


Adults aged 65 and older living in England.


Two thousand four hundred fifty-four noninstitutitionalized adults aged 65 and older taking part in the Health Survey for England (HSE).


Height and demi-span measurements (defined as the distance between the mid-point of the sternal notch and the finger roots with the arm outstretched laterally) were taken according to standard procedures.


Sex- and age-specific regression equations were produced from measured height and demi-span (DEH) using HSE 2005 data to develop new DEH equations (DEHage) from people aged 65 and older. The derived DEHage equation was applied to the HSE data for 1994, 2000, and 2007 to attempt to test its reliability. Analysis showed that DEHage predicts current height better than when using the Bassey equation (DEHBassey). DEHage can be used instead of a height measurement to derive other anthropometric indices such as body mass index (BMI) in older people.


The new equations developed for predicting current height in older people can be used to calculate BMI more accurately in older people.

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