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Asian J Sports Med. 2015 December; 6(4): e23206. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.

Published online 2015 December 1. Research Article

How Accurate Are the Anthropometry Equations in in Iranian Military Men
in Predicting Body Composition?
1 2,* 3
Abolfazl Shakibaee, Soghrat Faghihzadeh, Gholam Hossein Alishiri, Zeynab
4 5 1 1
Ebrahimpour, Shahram Faradjzadeh, Vahid Sobhani, and Alireza Asgari
1Exercise Physiology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran
2Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, IR Iran
3Department of Internal Medicine, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran
4Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Qaemshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr, IR Iran
5ISAK Criterion Anthropometrist, Criterion Photoscopic Somatotype Rater and Head of Nutrition Department, I.R.I. Sport Medicine Federation, Tehran, IR Iran

*Corresponding author: Soghrat Faghihzadeh, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, IR Iran. Tel: +98-2182482402, Fax: +98-2188600030,
E-mail: 35

Received 2014 September 1; Revised 2014 November 7; Accepted 2014 November 15

Background: The body composition varies according to different life styles (i.e. intake calories and caloric expenditure). Therefore, it is
wise to record military personnel’s body composition periodically and encourage those who abide to the regulations. Different methods
have been introduced for body composition assessment: invasive and non-invasive. Amongst them, the Jackson and Pollock equation is
most popular.
Objectives: The recommended anthropometric prediction equations for assessing men’s body composition were compared with dual-
energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) gold standard to develop a modified equation to assess body composition and obesity quantitatively
among Iranian military men.
Patients and Methods: A total of 101 military men aged 23 - 52 years old with a mean age of 35.5 years were recruited and evaluated in the
present study (average height, 173.9 cm and weight, 81.5 kg). The body-fat percentages of subjects were assessed both with anthropometric
assessment and DEXA scan. The data obtained from these two methods were then compared using multiple regression analysis.
Results: The mean and standard deviation of body fat percentage of the DEXA assessment was 21.2 ± 4.3 and body fat percentage obtained
from three Jackson and Pollock 3-, 4- and 7-site equations were 21.1 ± 5.8, 22.2 ± 6.0 and 20.9 ± 5.7, respectively. There was a strong correlation
between these three equations and DEXA (R² = 0.98).
Conclusions: The mean percentage of body fat obtained from the three equations of Jackson and Pollock was very close to that of body fat
obtained from DEXA; however, we suggest using a modified Jackson-Pollock 3-site equation for volunteer military men because the 3-site
equation analysis method is simpler and faster than other methods.

Keywords: Anthropometry, DEXA Scan, Body Composition, Military, Obesity

1. Background
Fit military personnel guarantee the independence and been introduced for body composition assessment: in-
sovereignty of every nation to a great extent. To study vasive and non-invasive. Amongst them, the Jackson and
fitness needs a lot of commitment and a very tight con- Pollock equation is most popular. Methods of body com-
trol and supervision. Knowledge regarding health risks, position assessment should be valid and reliable. An-
potential metabolic diseases, nutritional diets, intake thropometry assessment has highly attracted research-
habits and even daily/weekly exercise regimens of mili- ers’ attention because it is easy and inexpensive. Initially,
tary personnel can all be extracted off an index known anthropometry has originated from Hydrostatic Weigh-
as body fat percentage. To find out more about this very ing (HW) and was only able to detect two components
crucial quantity, the body composition as a broader term (2C) of body, fat mass (FM) and fat free mass (FFM). Later
is under the spotlight of investigators. The body compo- on, a four-component (4C) model evaluating FM, water,
sition varies according to different life styles (i.e. intake bone mineral content (BMC) and protein for anthropo-
of calories and caloric expenditure). Tight monitoring of metric assessment was proposed (1). Although these two
body fat and an optimum muscle mass ensures longer anthropometry assessment models (2C, 4C) were stan-
service to the military system whilst happier in person- dard and precise models to assess body composition,
al life. Therefore, it is wise to record military personnel they are not convenient to use in large military units due
body composition periodically and encourage those to practical reasons and maximal subject cooperation.
who abide to the regulations. Different methods have Therefore, researchers began to think and used anthro-
Copyright © 2015, Sports Medicine Research Center. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommer-
cial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages,
provided the original work is properly cited.

the the underestimate of %BF compared to DEXA in Hispanic correlation of which was R = 0. The procedure was carried out according to of our knowledge. According to ACSM’s equations used to convert sum of skin folds to percent instruction. was estimated using Jackson and Pollock 3-site (JP3) and curacy (5). All the assessments were per- and colleagues observed an underestimate of body fat formed by one same person and only 15 candidates were percentage (%BF) in spite of finding a strong relationship assessed for anthropometric evaluation every day. Evaluating 32 Estonian conscripts recommended by Ball et al. and fat-free soft tissue have different absorption properties. rotationally at least twice and the average of the two as- tional to the total amount of body fat. pometric equations to assess body composition in large 2.60). bone mineral. Anthropometric equations are required at the national level. The rate of overweightness and obesity has be- come a major problem among military forces. Body composition determined 3. the body density and its conversion to %BF body fat must consider these variables for greatest ac. chest. 2015. DEXA can get estimates of body composition by scanning the entire body. We tried not to change the cali- varies with sex. Subjects eralized skin fold equations developed in the 1970s are were wearing minimal clothes (e. tight-fitting short commonly used to estimate laboratory-measured fat or the likes). in many 101 military men aged 23 .2. Shakibaee A et al. ing to recommended ACSM’s regulations (5). DEXA is a standard obtained from DEXA in a small sample of volunteered method for body composition assessment estimating fat military combat forces based in Tehran suburbs. DEXA is a safe and quick method (6 to 20 minutes) that requires 3.96 (P < 0.6(4):e23206 .1) was used to and different lifestyles. 10). and abdomen (11). went anthropometric analysis in two stages to check the served an overestimate in %BF compared to DEXA. reliability before running the test. The present study is to investigate to convert body density to fat percentage. Therefore. In order to control obesity through scientific weight loss pro. and as such.3. fold caliper (Creative health products Plymouth MICH nately white individuals using Siri’s two-component PATENT PEND) was utilized. fat free mass and bone mass (3-component model) 3. Bedford. subjects emerging from DEXA for Iranian military men. Lintsi et al. Thus. DEXA has been consid. there is no anthropometric equation the manufacturer’s recommendations. Therefore. Gen. regression per accuracy during assessment. (8) observed another skin fold equation with cant difference between the two stages (P = 0. 3. sessment error. The exact proportion of subcutaneous-to-total fat iac. an equation fitting the local mili.001). The principle behind this tech. military forces’ body composition to set as a platform to Hologic-Delphi Systems. Bot. In order to reduce the as- percentage fat equation.450). a Slim Guide skin percentage. As between them (6). (6).52 were sampled randomly body composition laboratories. lay on a certain place of DEXA table with the minimum 2 Asian J Sports Med. subscapular. The equations were developed on predomi. MA. and ethnicity. mass. Objectives communities.g. Jackson-Pollock 7-site (JP7) equation is mostly 7-site (JP7) equations (Table 1) and Siri equation (%BF = used in sport science and recommended by American (495/Body Density) . triceps. There was no signifi- taro et al. respectively (12). the anthropometric equations originated from HW should be compared with DEXA to determine probable discrepancies. every point of skin fold was assessed nique is that the amount of subcutaneous fat is propor. we needed a precise and simple method to assess %BF was assessed using DEXA (model QDR 4500A. thigh. The two component model is still consid- The present investigation is meant to serve as a pilot ered as a standard model (2) and can precisely estimate study for greater and more comprehensive future studies body density. Briefly. Computer software of Hologic to preserve the muscle mass. To measure skin folds. It is assumed that sessments was recorded. USA) through build our future program aiming to shed weight and yet Fan Beam technology. Fat. are with that energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Patients and Methods simultaneously without needing to calculate density (3). All of them participated in the study expressing composition assessment as a clinical reference model full satisfaction in written form of consent. In addition. College of Sports Medicine (ACSM’s) (5). suprail- ously. midaxillary. Evaluated skin folds included close to one third of the total fat is located subcutane. Comparing the %BF was directly estimated using Jackson and Pollock estimations from these equations and DEXA in men. selected from three different categories of armor. To the best position. Due to racial differences QDR Delphi W unit. women. thirty subjects under- through anthropometric equations. (Apex software v 3. compose the output of the machine as the body com- tary population should be designed (9. Ball 4-site (JP4) equation (11). age. ranger ered as a secure alternative to the 2C models of body and staff. An alterna- how correlative body fat percentage data. Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry DEXA grams. (7) ob. Anthropometric Assessments from skin fold measurements correlates well with body Anthropometric assessments were conducted accord- composition determined by hydrodensitometry. Subjects minimal subject cooperation (4).0. estimated from tive method to be set as a gold standard method is Dual- 3 most general anthropometric equations.1.

7 kg and BMI of 26. triceps.37.00000055 (∑7SF)2- suprailiac.29 aThe values are presented as percent.112 .1 . The new equation presented in Table 2.9.5 . (-0. 3. JP3a.4 Body fat (JP7) a 21.29288 (4SF) – 0.57 0.013 0. In addition.001). 4-site skinfold equation by Jackson and Pollock (1985). as presented in Table In order to validate DEXA.1 ± 5. Descriptive characteristics of studied factors are equal to R2 = 0.10938-0. The average %BF obtained from JP4 equation (1985) was equal to 22. m 173.7 16.982 (P < 0.9 Body fat (DEXA) a 21. The average %BF obtained from DEXA is designed based on the JP3 equation as follows: and from JP7 was 21. thigh Body density = 1. Jackson-Pollock. The new equation is designed based on JP7 equation as sured twice on the someday. height The average %BF obtained in JP3 equation (1978) was of 173.0 3. Be.13) (P = 0.0005 × (∑3SF)2) + (0.002). suprailiac % BF =(0.7 was obtained by methods of anthropometry and Coefficient of Determination between JP3 and DEXA was DEXA. 7 47.19 and 21.4.00043499 (∑7SF) + 0. Regression results also show that the Coefficient of Determination between Multiple regression analysis was used as the statistical JP4 and DEXA was R2 = 0. sum of three skinfold sites. sum of four skinfold sites. JP4.98 (P < 0. Descriptive Characteristics (N101) of Volunteers Variable Mean ± SD Range Age.2 Body fat (JP3) a 20. abdomen.9 ± 6. was equal to R² = 0.0001).76377) Body fat Percentage of 101 military men aged 23-52 with Figure 2 shows the scatter plot between DEXA and JP4. regression results show that fore running the scans. Table 3.9 20.5 ± 11.36.15845 × age)-5. ∑4SF.188 Weight.9 Body fat (JP4) a 22. coverage. Between tests each subject follows: was removed from the DEXA table and repositioned (6).0002574 (age) 4-Site (JP4) Abdomen. Body density = 1. as presented in method.43 aAbbreviations: JP.112-0.5 cm.8 3.9 . thigh. kg 81. a standard deviation and average age of 35. 2015.0005 (4SF) + (0.00043499 (7SF) + 0. without any metal objects.0. ∑3SF. DEXA.6(4):e23206 3 .981 (1. All scans were technically performed Figure 1 shows the scatter plot between DEXA and JP7. JP7. Shakibaee A et al. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.5 .9 ± 3. Results BF% = 0. 3-site skinfold equation by Jackson and Pollock (1978).00028826 (age)) 0.328).8 0.0001).13 2. %BF of 10 subjects were mea. abdomen 0.0008267 (∑3SF) + 0.0.109 BMI. sum of seven skinfold sites.0001 DEXA 21.990 (1. thigh. Recommended generalizable Anthropometric Equations for Mena Equation Sites Formula 7-Site (JP7) Chest. Table 1.9 ± 6. equation as follows: 4.0000016 (∑3SF)2- 0.4 23 .2 ± 4. The mean value from JP4 was significantly 3.1. Table 2. Table 5.98 0.32.2 .0008267 (3SF) + 0.982 < 0.2 ± 4. and later analyzed and by the same operator.10938 .5 ± 8. BF% = 0.0000016 (3SF) significant difference between the two methods’ mean 2 .5 ± 11.0. y 35.2.4. Asian J Sports Med.981 (P < 0.15845 × age) – 5.0002574 (age)). Comparison of Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry and Jackson-Pollock 7a Variable Mean ± SD SEM Mean Diff SD SE P Value B Standard Error R² P Value Method -0.9 ± 5.981 (P < 0.52 Height.67).29288 × ∑4SF) – (0.5 155. tight shorts. respectively. Statistical Methods different from that of DEXA (P = 0.3 9.00000055 (7SF) Correlation between the results of two stages was R = 2 . subscapular. not significantly different from DEXA (P = 0. The ± 3.0001). DEXA machines and accessory the Coefficient of Determination between JP7 and DEXA equipment underwent quality control and calibration.76377 a Abbreviations: ∑7SF. kg/m2 26.981 0.32. Statistical package of SPSS (version 17) was used Table 4. The new equation is designed based on the JP4 for off-line statistical analyses.1 ± 5.4 .3 0. midaxillary.2 ± 6.7 3.8 ± 8. 7 site equation by Jackson and Pollock (1978).0. weight of 81.931 (0. There was no BF% = 0.3 . triceps.00028826 (age) 3-Site (JP3) Chest.3 0.67 JP7 21.

DEXA.2 ± 6.6 0.990 for JP7.3 2.014 0. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.00 10.00 15.00 20.00 30.00 5.981.981 < 0. The present study aims to estimate %BF of military men using a cheap. 30. Comparison of Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry and Jackson-Pollock3a Variable Mean ± SD SEM Mean Diff SD SE P Value B Standard Error R² P Value Method -0. Due to the importance of maintaining physical fitness. no anthropometric equation is designed for Iranians assessed by DEXA and this is the first study 5. 2015.02 3.00 10.00 In the present study. Jackson-Pollock.00 30. JP4 and JP7 respec- 20.00 . 5.002 JP4 22.2 ± 4.931 0.013 0. Findings of this study show that the estimation DEXA (BF%) of %BF in our volunteers follows Jackson and Pollock equations well. non-invasive Figure 3.00 30. Scatter Plot of Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Versus Jack- and yet precise method to inform commanders and son and Pollock 3 program planners of staff fitness maintenance as well 4 Asian J Sports Med. JP4 and JP3.00 30.00 20.00 ducted so far.3 0.328 JP3 20. Scatter Plot Between Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry and Figure 2.27 0.0001 DEXA 21.00 in this field conducted on a few volunteer military men. Jackson-Pollock.00 40. We can estimate %BF of volunteer mili- 15.3 0.43 a Abbreviations: JP.0001 DEXA 21.00 DEXA (BF%) 20. quick.9 ± 5.00 25.59 0.2 and 20.2 ± 4.00 JP7 (BF%) JP4 (BF%) Figure 1. Shows the Scatter Plot Between Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiom- Jackson-Pollock 7 etry and Jackson and Pollock 4 Table 4.00 25.1.00 tary men using coefficients of 0. respectively. 0. Discussion 30.00 40. 22.43 a Abbreviations: JP. DEXA.00 40. Comparison of Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry and Jackson-Pollock4a Variable Mean ± SD SEM Mean Diff SD SE P Value B Standard error R² P Value Method 1. Table 5.9 JP3.00 DEXA (BF%) 20.9 0.3 0.00 tively.57 0.00 10. . %BF in volunteer military men was measured by DEXA and compared with general- 25.00 10.00 20. dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.931 and 0.00 10.981 < 0. According to searches con- 10.00 ized Jackson and Pollock equations.00 5.6(4):e23206 .00 . Shakibaee A et al.00 military forces are permanently monitored in terms of JP3 (BF%) body composition.990 0.0 0.00 15. the mean values of which were 21.3 0.

Therefore. (17). DEXA may make an error in discriminating bone of body composition assessment. Finally.942 and 0. estimate %BF needed a thorough investigation. we suggest JP4 equation not to be used for fu.5 . blacks. Mickles- used the non-invasive and inexpensive method of Jack. the results of various tion (chest. Asian J Sports Med. Another limitation of DEXA is lation for its simplicity and quickness. For example. Although DEXA is currently the best method words. and also ACSM’s stated modified formulas to measured values (by DEXA) will be the underpinning change body density to %BF for different ethnic groups of the modified equations. Manios (16) also compared anthropometric and DEXA alized Jackson and Pollock equations are mostly used in and reported their relationship. in our study.or overestimated. Time is of munity suit the very same community. it seems more appropriate to use JP3 equa. Kanellakis and dred anthropometric equations designed so far. a device. Therefore. the difference is due to different Having different race and life styles in our sample types of fat. Con. The mean %BF obtained from though not significant. (15) used hip cir- sible that Jackson and Pollock equations were precisely cumference divided by height 1. In other diseases. several concluded that JP7 equation is the best model for their studies have compared obesity in different countries studied population which seems consistent with the including Iran and have shown the differences. if possible. Here. Beta regression can be used such as native Americans. In addi- present study. it is necessary consistent with. Lifestyle varies beta derived from JP7 and JP3 equations was 0. and caucasians (whites) separately (5).6(4):e23206 5 . research studies (14). nutrition (25) in Iran. Therefore. Freedman et al. It are exact and not under. JP4 equation tion. any differences between Durnin and Womersley (1974). oped from HW and need be updated with a new method Lintsi et al. However. Despite a high correlation between %BF to realize that Jackson and Pollock equations are devel. Ball and Colleagues sociated with body composition. close to that directly measured by DEXA in volunteered ware base their function on an assumed value for soft military combat forces based in Tehran. Bottaro the estimated (by Jackson and Pollock equations) and et al. they showed in another study that DEXA can act as an sidering high correlation of %BF assessments between alternative to CT and MRI to assess VAT in clinical and Jackson and Pollock equations and our study. In addition. as to decrease the occurrence of non-communicable that it cannot directly estimate tissue density.002). study. However. Japanese to design an appropriate equation. which operates with its special software and ity. Among more than one hun. it cannot be perma.990 in our study.981 and in different communities. (13) found that these two methods are unable son and Pollock equations and proved its applicability. which our finding was sports and medicine for men. (7) reported an overestimate in %BF ob- such as DEXA in order to determine if their estimates tained from skin fold equations compared to DEXA. it is pos. Yet some observable errors may the three equations of Jackson and Pollock was very be related to DEXA because DEXA and the relevant soft. creased in Iran during recent years (19) and even mean Therefore. was consistent with our study and may be due to Lunar equations will be modified for the society from which DEXA as well as the use of anthropometric equations of they are derived. how Jackson and Pollock equations could VAT using DEXA and they assessed only VAT. Similar to the re. and this assumption might lead to potential er. Hart et al. abdomen. priate and reliable for all Iranian military forces. there are various 0. it is tissues. to assess VAT as precise as CT and magnetic resonance as compared to DEXA.941 reported by Ball diet habits all over the world (18). 2015. This means that special importance for assessing a fairly large military the equation presented in this study can be used for the unit. we did not remove hypodermic fat from population. In addition. gener. present data an equation should be derived to study the entire popu- displayed an underestimate in JP3 and JP7 equations. Diets are directly as- and Colleagues respectively (6). However. alternative anthropometric assessment may make errors in assessments. Iran (20). Spaniards. Since the Coefficient of Determi. for it has less variables studies show that regression equations of each com- to measure and takes less time to complete. from other tissues. It is therefore noteworthy to observe that DEXA is forces due to its high costs and problems with portabil. Studies indicate the significant relationship nation is almost identical in the JP7 and JP3 equations between obesity and lifestyle indicators (21-24) and (R2 = 0. However. obtained from anthropometric equations and DEXA. particularly when in military excercise or mission entire military population in Iran. Our study indicates that other points used out a comprehensive study on all ethnic groups in Iran in JP7 equation have small effect on the assessment of to be able to create a generalized equation both appro- %BF in our volunteered military men. (8). we were inspired to follow them. To validate noninvasive models. and by doing so. Since Ball and colleagues in assessment of visceral adipose tissue (VAT). body mass index (BMI) is not similar amongst cities of ture national studies. Shakibaee A et al. We require carrying conditions. field et al.18 as an index to mea- designed and could also be used for volunteer military sure %BF while skin fold method was used in the present men in the present study. and 0. imaging (MRI). lation of Iran. studies have shown that BMI has significantly in- shows a significant overestimation of DEXA (P = 0. especially in the trunk of the fat peo- nently used to assess body composition of military ple. thigh). Comparing DEXA and methods cross-validated with a gold standard can be anthropometry with computerized tomography (CT) used to achieve this purpose. sults reported by Ball and Colleagues (6).98). suggested to use the JP3 equation for the sample popu- rors in the final results.

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