Knowledge of the body composition in terms of fat and fat-free mass is used in paediatrics to estimate a child's nutritional status. To obtain the fat content or protein content sophisticated techniques exist. These techniques are often difficult to apply in daily practice. An anthropometric approach is therefore relevant because of its simplicity. In this study skinfold thicknesses and mid-upperarm circumference are presented as reference values and used to derive the fat-free mass fraction of the body and the arm muscle area.
Conclusion: Despite the shortcomings of an anthropometric approach in estimating the fraction of fat-free mass or protein content, its simplicity makes the method of calculating these fractions on skinfold thicknesses and mid-upperarm circumference valuable to apply in daily paediatric practice.