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What is Anthropometry?

Anthro- : man
-pometry: measurements
Literal meaning: “measurement of humans”
The study of measurements or proportions of
the human body according to sex, age, etc.
for identification purposes
Dimensions of bones, muscles, and adipose
(fat) I tissues

With the increased objective of creating
more efficient man-machine systems, the
need to collect extensive anthropometric
data becomes more important.
Consequences of designing systems that do
not accommodate for user populations
include user fatigue, task inefficiency and
are generally inconvenient.

Applications of
 Identification of repeated criminals
 Cesare Lombroso's Criminal Anthropology (1895):
“murderers have prominent jaws and pickpockets
have long hands and scanty beards”.
 Eugene Vidocq: identification of criminals by facial
 Prevention of impersonation
 Differentiation between the races
 Eugenics in Europe
 Aryans from Jews: The Bureau for Enlightenment on
Population Policy and Racial Welfare recommended the
classification of Aryans and non-Aryans on the basis of
measurements of the skull and other physical features,
“craniometric” certification, required by law. The
consequences for not meeting requirements included
denial of permission to marry or work, and for many it
meant the death camps
 Intelligence tests became associated with Anthropometry
Body Identification using
 Bertillon used 5 basic measurements:
 head length
 head breadth
 length of middle finger
 Length of left foot
 length from the elbow to the extremity of the middle finger
 Today that list is more extensive:
 Gender
 Height
 Weight
 Age
 Bicep circumference, buttock depth, chest breadth, elbow
circumference, eye height, forearm to hand, ear breadth,
head circumference, head length, hip breadth sitting, hip
breadth standing, sitting height, waist depth, wrist breadth,
wrist circumference to name a few…there are currently 107

Anthropometric Measuring Tools
A n th ro p o m e te
r Ta p e

M e d ica l
sca le
S lid in g C a lip e rs: la rg e
a n d sm a ll

S p re a d in g
C a lip e r
Anthropometric Measuring
 Weight
 Stature
 Posture:
 Standing
 Frankfort
 Sitting
 Arm Span
 Head Length
 Head Breadth
 Ear-to-Head Height
 Nasal Length
 Nasal Breadth
 Skeletal Index = Sitting Height x 100/Stature
 Cephalic Index = Head Breadth x 100/Head Length
 Nasal Index = Nasal Breadth x 100/Nasal Length
 Span/Stature Index = Arm Span x 100/ Stature
 Cranial Capacity

Anthropometry Today
Nutrition and wellness
 Weight Training
 dynamic anthropometry: Measurements taken on
and around the figure when it is in any position
other than the fixed ones.
 Everyday life
Evolutionary Significance
 Changes in humans overtime
Monitor growth in children
 Cranial Anthropometry

the automatic identification of a person based
on his/her physiological or behavioral
Verification vs. identification
Verification: Am I whom I claim I am? involves
confirming or denying a person's claimed
Identification: Who am I?

Biometrics Applications
Forensics: criminal identification and prison
Prevention of unauthorized access to ATMs,
cellular phones, smart cards, desktop PCs,
workstations, and computer networks
Automobiles: replace keys with key-less entry
and key-less ignition
Border control and national ID cards

Biometrics Programs
Fingerprint Identification
Hand Geometry: geometric shape of the hand
for authenticating a user's identity
Face Location: an arbitrary black and white,
still image, find the location and size of every
human face
Multibiometrics: integrates face recognition,
fingerprint verification, and speaker
verification in making a personal

Biometrics in Use

H e a th ro w A irp o rt-
B e n G u rio n A irp o rt: F a ce P a ss : F a ce Iris
H a n d G e o m e try V e rifica tio n

G ro ce ry S to re P a y m e n t:
F in g e rp rin t
U S - V isit
IN S P A S S : H a n d P ro g ra m
G e o m e try 17
Levels of Body Fatness
 Men Women
Essential fat 5% 10%
Borderline 6-9% 11-16%
Good fitness - health 10-20% 17-28%
Marginal fitness 21-25% 29-35%
Overfatness > 25% > 35%

Regional Fat Deposition
Abdominal body fat poses greater health risks
than fat stored in other areas

Males store more fat
centrally and have
increased health
risks associated
with body fatness
Male (apple) Female (pear)
Higher health risk Lower health risk

Body Composition
Assessment Techniques
Underwater weighing
Technological assessments
Skinfold technique
Anthropometric measurements

U n d e rw a te r W e ig h in g
Te ch n iq u e
B o d y fa t p ro vid e s m o re
b u o ya n cy so a fa tte r
p e rso n w e ig h s le ss ( o n
a re la tive b a sis) th a n a
le a n p e rso n

S kin fo ld Te ch n iq u e
La ye rs o f
su b cu ta n e o u s
fa t a re m e a su re d
d iffe re n t site s o f
to e stim a te to ta l
b o d y fa t le ve ls

C ro ss se ctio n a l vie w

Benefits of Skinfold
Fairly accurate
Easy to perform

Common Skinfold Sites
7 site procedure
 Jackson and Pollack
Males Female
Chest Triceps
 Chest
Abdomen Supraillium
 Axilla Thigh Thigh
 Tricep
 Subscapular
 Abdomen Alternative Sites
(Males & Females)
 Supraillium
 Thigh

Regional Fat Deposition
Visceral Fat
Visceral body fat poses greater health risks
because this fat is more labile and has greater
access to the circulation.

The accumulation of visceral body fat is typical

of the android (male) fat pattern
 males: visceral accounts for 10-35% of total fat
 females: visceral accounts for 8-13%of total fat

Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)
Waist to Hip Ratio is an effective way to
examine regional fat distribution.


High Risk > 1.0 > .85
Moderate Risk .90 -1.0 .80-.85
Low Risk < .90 < .80

Technological Assessments
of Body Composition
 Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA)
 Bioelectric impedance
 Infra-red spectroscopy
 Ultrasound
 Imaging techniques (DEXA, MRI)

Bioelectric Impedence
(Measurement Issues)
Based on resistance to
current flow
 Lean tissue has more water - less
 Fat tissue has less water - more
Sources of error
 Temperature
 Hydration status

General conclusions
 Overestimates lean /
underestimates obese
 Practical, but expensive, measure
for general population
Infrared Spectroscopy
(Measurement Issues)
Based on differential absorbance rates
 Lean tissue has a different energy absorption
and reflectance pattern than fat tissue
Sources of error
 Validity of absorbance readings is questionable!

General findings
 NOT a valid measure!

(Measurement Issues)
Based on reflection of sound
 Fat content increases the time is required for
sound to reflect off of bone and muscle.
Sources of error
 Representative sites for measurement
 Measurement error

General conclusions
 Highly accurate measure of body fat - especially
for obese
 Expensive and not practical for most

Imaging Techniques
(Measurement Issues)
Based on imaging of body tissues
 Based on cross sectional area measures
calculated at different levels of the body
Sources of error
 Representative sites for measurement
 Measurement error

General conclusions
 Very precise measure of body composition
 Expensive and not practical measure for most