Anthropometric Measurement

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Anthropometric measurements are noninvasive quantitative measurements of the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anthropometry provides a valuable assessment of nutritional status in children and adults. Typically, they are used in the pediatric population to evaluate the general health status, nutritional adequacy, and the growth and developmental pattern of the child. Growth measurements and normal growth patterns are the gold standards by which clinicians assess the health and well-being of a child. Body measurements can help assess health and dietary status and future disease risk in adults. These measurements can also determine adult body composition to help determine underlying nutritional status and diagnose obesity.

The core elements of anthropometry are height, weight, head circumference, body mass index (BMI), body circumferences to assess for adiposity (waist, hip, and limbs), and skinfold thickness. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Program Health Assessment Guidelines (guideline #4), accurate serial anthropometric measurements can help identify children's underlying medical, nutritional, or social problems. Abnormal anthropometric measurements, especially in the pediatric population, warrant further evaluation. Anthropometric measurements can also assess body composition in athletes; this has been shown to optimize athletes' competitive performance and help identify underlying medical problems, such as eating disorders. Anthropometry-driven fitness programs in athletes have been shown to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and strength. Anthropometric measurements are also used to assess the nutritional status of pregnant women and to assess patients with obesity.

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