Cross-validation of the Slaughter skinfold equations for children and adolescents

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993 Sep;25(9):1070-6.


Prior to sexual maturation, children and adolescents have more water and less bone mineral content than adults, resulting in less dense fat-free body mass (FFM). This suggests that previously established adult skinfold/density equations are inappropriate for use with children and adolescents for the prediction of body fatness (%BF) and FFM. To overcome this problem, Slaughter and colleagues have introduced new skinfold (SKF) equations that take into account the changing density of FFM in children and adolescents as they mature. The purpose of our study was to cross-validate a select set of the Slaughter SKF equations by comparing them with a criterion measurement (Lohman's Siri age-adjusted body density equation) in 122 subjects ranging in sexual maturation from pre- to post-pubescent and ranging in age from 8-17. Our cross-validation found very high intraclass (reliability) correlations (ICCs = 0.98-0.99) and high validity correlations (rs = 0.79-0.99). The standard errors of the estimate for %BF ranged from 3.5-4.6% and total errors for %BF ranged from 3.6-4.6%. The Slaughter equation using tricep and calf SKF for females was significantly different (P < 0.05) from the criterion measure in its prediction of %BF. In males, there was an interaction between the SKF equation and subject maturation level. The data indicate that the Slaughter SKF equations hold promise for estimating body composition in children and adolescents but are still in need of refinement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Observer Variation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Residual Volume
  • Sex Factors
  • Skinfold Thickness*