Validity of Self-Assessment Techniques for Estimating Percent Fat in Men and Women

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This study examined the validity of the Accu-Measure™ (AM) and the Futrex 1000 (F-1000) for estimating % body fat (BF) by comparing the estimates to values obtained from skinfold equations (Sum3). Thirty Caucasian men (age 23 ± 3 yrs) and 26 Caucasian women (21 ± 2 yrs) participated in the study. Subjects practiced, then determined their %BF using the AM and the F-1000, while skinfold sites from the Sum3 equations (men = abdomen, chest, thigh; women = triceps, suprailiac, thigh) were measured by an experienced investigator with a Lange caliper. The validity (vs. underwater weighing) for each procedure was determined by examining the constant error (CE), standard error of the estimate, r, and total error (TE). The results were similar for both genders and indicated that the AM, which resulted in the lowest TE values and nonsignificant (p > 0.02) CE values, was as accurate as the Sum3 equations for estimating %BF, and is recommended over the F-1000 for self-assessments of body composition.

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