Percent body fat estimations in college men using field and laboratory methods: A three-compartment model approach

Jordan R. Moon, Sarah E. Tobkin, Abbie E. Smith, Michael D. Roberts, Eric D. Ryan, Vincent J. Dalbo, Chris M. Lockwood, Ashley A. Walter, Joel T. Cramer, Travis W. Beck, Jeffrey R. Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background. Methods used to estimate percent body fat can be classified as a laboratory or field technique. However, the validity of these methods compared to multiple-compartment models has not been fully established. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of field and laboratory methods for estimating percent fat (%fat) in healthy college-age men compared to the Siri three-compartment model (3C). Methods. Thirty-one Caucasian men (22.5 ± 2.7 yrs; 175.6 ± 6.3 cm; 76.4 ± 10.3 kg) had their %fat estimated by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) using the BodyGram™ computer program (BIA-AK) and population-specific equation (BIA-Lohman), near-infrared interactance (NIR) (Futrex® 6100/XL), four circumference-based military equations [Marine Corps (MC), Navy and Air Force (NAF), Army (A), and Friedl], air-displacement plethysmography (BP), and hydrostatic weighing (HW). Results. All circumference-based military equations (MC = 4.7% fat, NAF = 5.2% fat, A = 4.7% fat, Friedl = 4.7% fat) along with NIR (NIR = 5.1% fat) produced an unacceptable total error (TE). Both laboratory methods produced acceptable TE values (HW = 2.5% fat; BP = 2.7% fat). The BIA-AK, and BIA-Lohman field methods produced acceptable TE values (2.1% fat). A significant difference was observed for the MC and NAF equations compared to both the 3C model and HW (p < 0.006). Conclusion. Results indicate that the BP and HW are valid laboratory methods when compared to the 3C model to estimate %fat in college-age Caucasian men. When the use of a laboratory method is not feasible, BIA-AK, and BIA-Lohman are acceptable field methods to estimate %fat in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalDynamic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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