Caliper vs. Lipometer - comparing two methods of subcutaneous body fat measurement by Bland-Altman diagrams

Erwin Tafeit, Petra Silke Kaimbacher, Sandra Johanna Wallner-Liebmann, Gilbert Reibnegger, Gerhard Cvirn, Jaak Jürimäe, Meeli Saar, Jarek Maestu, Priit Purge, Evelin Lätt, Toivo Jürimäe

Abstract


Skinfold Calipers are widely used to obtain subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness because of its non-invasive, simple and inexpensive technique. Nevertheless, Caliper skinfold thicknesses have the disadvantage of measuring compressed adipose tissue and double layers of skin, which might reduce the precision of these results. In contrast, the computerized optical device Lipometer was developed to permit a quick, precise and non-invasive determination of non-compressed mono layers of subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness. In the present paper we investigate the hypothesis that Caliper skinfold thicknesses are significantly different from subcutaneous adipose tissue thicknesses in mm, which can be measured by Lipometer. Caliper and Lipometer results were obtained from 371 Estonian boys aged between 9.0 and 12.8 years. Measurements were performed at six different body sites: triceps, biceps, upper back, upper abdomen, hip and front thigh. Caliper measurements were systematically higher than Lipometer results in a range between 1.2 mm (hip) and 11.08 mm (front thigh). Comparing Caliper and Lipometer results very low measurement agreement was found. The two methods provided very poor interchangeability.

Keywords*


caliper; lipometer; subcutaneous body fat; children; subcutaneous adipose tissue;

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