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Article Title

IMPACT OF TESTER EXPERIENCE ON SKINFOLD MEASURES FOR BODY FAT IN COLLEGE-AGED ADULTS

Abstract

A. K. Vyakhk, K. Dragoo, C. Monson, & W. Repovich

Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Skinfolds are a valid and non-invasive technique for obtaining percent body fat (%BF). Measurement error is often the result of an inexperienced tester and/or poor technique. PURPOSE: The objective was to determine the difference between an experienced (EX) and inexperienced (IX) tester and the difference between testers for early (E) and late (L) groups of %BF measurements. METHODS: Seventy-eight healthy, college-aged subjects participated. The EX tester holds ACSM HFS certification and has 30 years of experience. The IX tester was an exercise science major with no experience. The same Lange calipers were used for all measurements and the IX tester always measured first. Sites used for males were the chest, abdomen, and thigh; the females were the triceps, suprailiac, and thigh. %BF was determined from the Jackson, Pollock, & Ward, and Jackson & Pollock formulas. To determine whether there was a change over time to indicate that the IX tester had gained experience, the %BF data was divided in half as E (n = 39) and L (n = 39) groups and compared between IX and EX testers. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare the group means. Significance was set at p £ 0.05. RESULTS: There was a significant difference (p = 0.000) between testers (EX = 23.9 ± 10.8%BF & IX = 22.8 ± 10.2%BF). CONCLUSION: Results indicate that one must administer skinfolds on more than 78 subjects to be deemed experienced. According to the ACSM, increasing participation in workshops, utilizing video media for educating on correct technique, working with a skilled technician, and accumulating experience in a supervised clinical environment are all ways to improve the accuracy of taking skinfolds.

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