Estimation of adiposity from body mass and height: a comparison of regression methods

Burton, R. F.
September 2010
International Journal of Body Composition Research;2010, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p77
Academic Journal
Objectives: Several forms of regression equation have been used for estimating fat content from body mass and height. The aims are to compare seven forms of equation for accuracy, to elucidate their interrelationships and theoretical basis and so to facilitate the integration of published studies. Method: The equations were compared using published data sets. For each set comparisons were made both of the various regression parameters and of the accuracy with which percentage body fat was estimated, directly or indirectly, from body mass and height. Results and conclusions: Three forms of prediction equation, mathematically related and justified by novel theoretical modelling, have exactly equal overall accuracy and share almost identical regression parameters: the regression of fat mass index on body mass index (BMI), of percentage body fat on 1/BMI and of fat mass on body mass and height2. Other methods can predict percentage body fat about as well, namely the regression of fat mass on body mass and height (with one extra parameter), the regression of percentage body fat on BMI using quadratic or semilogarithmic expressions and, less reliably and less justifiably, the regression of fat mass on BMI. Regression of percentage body fat on 1/BMI or of fat mass index on BMI is recommended, being theoretically sound, already established, and each requiring just two regression parameters. Consideration of their theoretical basis should allow additional variables, such as measures of body-build, to be added to prediction equations in functionally-meaningful ways. Approximate interconversion between different forms of equation is sometimes possible.


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