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Truly reflecting the aspect one would ideally like to measure) of fat and fatness (and energy nutritional status)? There are several assumptions implicit in the use of skinfolds to represent body fat, as shown in Fig. 5. Martin et al. [164] regard compressibility as presenting the major problem as it is large and difficult to predict. The dermis thickness is not a constant fraction of the skinfold but the significance of this is unclear. Fat patterning may cause the sites measured to be unrepresentative of average SCAT thickness.

In a study on 138 Italian shipyard workers aged 22-55 years, Norgan and Ferro-Luzzi [40] computed linear regression equations of % fat from weightheight indices that were rather similar to those of Womersley and Durnin. Because these equations should be regarded as descriptive rather than predictive, prediction equations were drawn up on a validation sample and were cross-validated on another sample. They also presented the % fat at the cut-off points for different degrees of obesity as defined by Garrow from W1H Z ratios [41].

These should only be used when skinfold measurements are not available. In a study on 138 Italian shipyard workers aged 22-55 years, Norgan and Ferro-Luzzi [40] computed linear regression equations of % fat from weightheight indices that were rather similar to those of Womersley and Durnin. Because these equations should be regarded as descriptive rather than predictive, prediction equations were drawn up on a validation sample and were cross-validated on another sample. They also presented the % fat at the cut-off points for different degrees of obesity as defined by Garrow from W1H Z ratios [41].

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