Body composition: the precision and accuracy of new methods and their suitablity for longitudinal studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to estimate body composition is of central importance in studies of growth
and nutrition, in both animals and man. However, what we mean by body composition
and what we wish to estimate differ according to how we view the body. Anatomists may
think in terms of the sizes of organs and tissues, physiologists in terms of cellular and
extracellular components, nutritionists in terms of nitrogen, lipid or energy contents,
animal breeders or butchers in terms of meat, fat and bone. The methods we choose to
estimate body composition reflect these different viewpoints. Our aims also dictate the
precision we require of our techniques and, since it is generally true that precision is
expensive (Kempster, 1984), we need at the outset to define our aims rather carefully, in
the form of two questions:
what information is needed?
how accurate and how precise must it be?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1990


  • computed-tomography
  • fat distribution
  • obesity
  • women
  • metabolism

Cite this