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The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
ISSN: 1606-0997
EISSN: 1606-0997
Vol. 35, No. 1, 2016, pp. 1-7
Bioline Code: hn16011
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2016, pp. 1-7

 en A field tool for prediction of body fat in Sri Lankan women: skinfold thickness equation
Waidyatilaka, Indu; de Silva, Angela; de Lanerolle-Dias, Maduka; Atukorala, Sunethra & Lanerolle, Pulani


Background: Valid skinfold thickness (SFT) equations for the prediction of body fat are currently unavailable for South Asian women and would be a potentially robust field tool. Our aim was to assess the validity of existing SFT equations against deuterium (2H2O) dilution and, if invalid, to develop and validate an SFT equation for % fat mass (%FM) in Sri Lankan women.
Methods: H2O dilution was used with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy as the criterion method for the assessment of %FM in urban Sri Lankan women (30–45 years). This data was used to assess the validity of available SFT equations and to generate and validate a new SFT equation for the prediction of %FM against the criterion method. Women (n = 164) were divided into validation and cross-validation groups for the development and validation of the new equation. The level of agreement between the %FM calculated by the final derived prediction equation and the %FM obtained by 2H2O dilution was assessed using Pearson’s correlation coefficient (R) and Bland Altman plots. Student’s t test was used to assess over- or underestimation, and significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results: Existing equations significantly (p < 0.001) underestimated %FM compared with the 2H2O dilution method. The final equation obtained was %FM= 19.621 + (0.237*weight) + (0.259*triceps). When compared with 2H2O dilution, %FM by the equation was not significantly different. There was a significant (p < 0.001) correlation between %FM by the reference method and %FM by the equation. The limit of agreement by Bland Altman plot was narrow with a small mean positive bias.
Conclusions: Existing SFT equations were not applicable to this population. The new equation derived was valid. We report a new SFT equation to predict %FM in women of South Asian ancestry suitable for field use.

SFT; Skinfold thickness; Fat mass; FM; Body fat; Asian; Body composition

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