•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Purposes: (1) To compare the Lafayette Instruments (LI) skinfold caliper to the Lange (L) and Harpenden (H) calipers using a diverse subject population. (2) To determine the validity of the LI caliper in a subset of subjects by comparing body compositions from skinfold thicknesses to those measured by hydrostatic weighing (HW) and air displacement plethysmography (ADP). (3) To compare measurements obtained by experienced (EX) and inexperienced (IX) technicians using all three calipers. Methods: Skinfold measurements were performed by both EX and IX technicians using three different calipers on 21 younger (21.2 ± 1.5 yrs) and 20 older (59.2 ± 4 yrs) subjects. Body compositions were calculated using the Jackson-Pollock seven-site and three-site formulas. HW and ADP tests were performed on a subset of subjects (10 younger, 10 older). Results: No significant differences existed between LI and L or H when measurements were made by EX. Further, the LI-EX measurements were highly correlated to both H-EX and L-EX. No significant differences existed in the subgroup between LI-EX and HW or ADP. Skinfold determinations made by EX and IX were similar. Conclusions: Similar body compositions determined using LI, H, and L suggest that LI determines body composition as effectively as H and L. High correlations between the three calipers support this notion. Similar results between LI and HW/ADP subgroup suggest that the LI caliper may be a valid method of measuring body composition. Overall, performance by IX was similar to EX and suggests similar ease of use for all three calipers.