Harmonization process and reliability assessment of anthropometric measurements in a multicenter study in adolescents

Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Nov;32 Suppl 5:S58-65. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2008.184.


Objective: To describe the standardization process and reliability of anthropometric and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) measurements. We examined both intra- and interobserver errors for skinfolds, circumferences and BIA.

Methods: For the intraobserver error assessment, first of all, 202 adolescents in the pilot study (110 boys, 92 girls, aged 13.64+/-0.78 years) were assessed. For the second intraobserver and interobserver assessments, 10 adolescents were studied (5 boys and 5 girls).

Results: The pilot study's intraobserver technical errors of measurement (TEMs) were between 0.12 and 2.9 mm for skinfold thicknesses, and between 0.13 and 1.75 cm for circumferences. Intraobserver reliability for skinfold thicknesses was greater than 69.44% and beyond 78.43% for circumferences. The final workshop's intraobserver TEMs for skinfold thicknesses and circumferences were smaller than 1; for BIA resistance TEMs were smaller than 0.1 Omega and for reactance they were smaller than 0.2 Omega. Intraobserver reliability values were greater than 95, 97, 99 and 97% for skinfold thicknesses, circumferences, BIA resistance and reactance, respectively. Interobserver TEMs for skinfold thicknesses and circumferences ranged from 1 to 2 mm; for BIA they were 1.16 and 1.26 Omega for resistance and reactance, respectively. Interobserver reliability for skinfold thicknesses and circumferences were greater than 90%, and for BIA resistance and reactance they were greater than 90%.

Conclusions: After the results of the pilot study, it was necessary to optimize the quality of the anthropometric measurements before the final survey. Significant improvements were observed in the intraobserver reliabilities for all measurements, with interobserver reliabilities being higher than 90% for most of the measurements.The Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Study aims to describe total body fat percentage and anthropometric indices of body fat distribution in European adolescents.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / methods
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Fat Distribution / methods
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electric Impedance
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results