Application of weight-height relations for assessing adiposity in a United Kingdom offshore workforce

Br J Ind Med. 1987 Mar;44(3):201-5. doi: 10.1136/oem.44.3.201.


Weight (W), height (H), and skinfold thicknesses at biceps, triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac sites were measured in a United Kingdom offshore workforce. Weight and height were used to calculate W/H relations. The percentage body fat was estimated from skinfold thicknesses and the correlations of adiposity with the various W/H relations were evaluated. The significant increase in percentage body fat (%BF) with increasing age resulted in the development of age group specific regression equations relating %BF to the indices of W/H1.5 and W/H2 (body mass index or Quetelet index). Little difference regarding the qualities of these two indices were detected in terms of poor correlation with height and strong correlation with weight. Thus either may be used with similar levels of confidence. Comparison with other studies, however, would be more easily accomplished if W/H2 were used. In the absence of skinfold thickness measurements the W/H2 could readily be implemented during a routine medical and applied for the estimation of %BF in the offshore population provided that the appropriate regression equation were used and that the limitations of the technique are recognised. Percentage values for W, H, W/H relations, and %BF by age group are provided for comparison with other population studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Diving*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Petroleum*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom


  • Petroleum