International Journal of Exercise Science 6(1) : 20-28, 2013. Skinfold (SKF) measurement is arguably the most ubiquitous method of estimating percent body fat (%BF) because of cost, ease, and feasibility. However, it is unknown how accurately novice exercise science students measure SKF thickness. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the validity with which exercise science students in an Exercise Physiology course measured skinfold thickness and estimated percent body fat (%BF) when compared to a skilled technician. Twenty-three novice undergraduate students were afforded both verbal measurement instruction and visual measurement demonstration and, subsequently, assessed SKF thicknesses of a male and female testee. %BF was calculated using measurements obtained by the skilled technician and students. Comparisons were made between measurements taken by the skilled technician and students using error, absolute error, and one sample t-tests. For the female testee, average error ranged from -0.5 mm to -4.8 mm for the 7-sites, 1.7±15.4 mm for the sum of 7-sites, and -3.7±2.6% for %BF. The average absolute error ranged from 1.2 mm to 4.9 mm for the 7-sites, 23.3±12.7 mm for the sum of 7-sites, and 3.9±2.2% for %BF. For the male testee, average error ranged from 0.0 mm to 0.9 mm for the 7-sites, 2.9±8.5 mm for the sum of 7-sites, and 0.5±1.4% for %BF. The average absolute error ranged from 0.6 mm to 1.1 mm for the 7-sites, 4.8±7.5 mm for the sum of 7-sites, and 0.8±1.2% for BF%. The one sample t-tests revealed no significant differences in the sum of 7-sites and %BF for the male model (p>0.05), but significant differences were found for the female model (p<0.05). From a practical perspective, when novice exercise science students were provided both verbal and visual instructions of SKF measurement technique, students were able to accurately assess %BF of a male testee as compared to the skilled technician. With respect to the female testee, however, students underestimated the sum of the 7 SKF sites by ~ 20 mm when compared to the skilled technician. Additional tutelage and practice may be necessary when teaching SKF measurement of females and/or individuals with higher %BF to novice undergraduate exercise science students.
Barreira, Tiago V.; Renfrow, Matthew S.; Tseh, Wayland; and Kang, Minsoo
"The Validity Of 7-Site Skinfold Measurements Taken By Exercise Science Students,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 6
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol6/iss1/4