Background: Skinfold-thickness measurements are commonly obtained for the indirect assessment of body composition.
Objective: We developed new skinfold-thickness equations by using a 4-compartment model as the reference. Additionally, we compared our new equations with the Durnin and Womersley and Jackson and Pollock skinfold-thickness equations to evaluate each equation's validity and precision.
Design: Data from 681 healthy, white adults were used. Percentage body fat (%BF) values were calculated by using the 4-compartment model. The cohort was then divided into validation and cross-validation groups. Equations were developed by using regression analyses and the 4-compartment model. All equations were then tested by using the cross-validation group. Tests for accuracy included mean differences, R(2), and Bland-Altman plots. Precision was evaluated by comparing root mean squared errors.
Results: Our new equations' estimated means for %BF in men and women (22.7% and 32.6%, respectively) were closest to the corresponding 4-compartment values (22.8% and 32.8%). The Durnin and Womersley equation means in men and women (20.0% and 31.0%, respectively) and the Jackson and Pollock mean in women (26.2%) underestimated %BF. All equations showed a tendency toward underestimation in subjects with higher %BF. Bland-Altman plots showed limited agreement between Durnin and Wormersley, Jackson and Pollock, and the 4-compartment model. Precision was similar among all the equations.
Conclusions: We developed accurate and precise skinfold-thickness equations by using a 4-compartment model as the method of reference. Additionally, we found that the skinfold-thickness equations frequently used by clinicians and practitioners underestimate %BF.