Relationship Between Skinfold, Air Displacement Plethysmography, and Bioelectrical Impedance Measurements of Female Collegiate Athletes

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Southeastern American College of Sports Medicine Regional Conference


Background: Anthropometric measures such as body composition are important to assess in athletic populations. Previous research has suggested that different methods of estimating body fat percentage (BF%) vary among populations, however, limited research exists in this relationship among lean, athletic female populations.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between three body composition methods (3-site skinfold [3-SF]; air displacement plethysmography [ADP]; and bioelectrical impedance [BIA]) in female collegiate athletes.

Methods: Seventy-four Division I female athletes underwent a single test battery consisting of body composition evaluation using ADP, BIA, and 3-SF tests to estimate BF%. Pearson correlations were run to analyze the relationship between the three methods of determining BF%.

Results: Both formulas for 3-SF (Siri: 19.3 ± 5.2%; Brozek: 19.1 ± 4.8%) revealed a perfect (r = 1.000, p <0.001) relationship with each other, and same correlation with other measurements. A significant, strong positive correlation was found (r = 0.756, p < 0.001) between BIA (21.3 ± 6.0%) and 3-SF. A significant, moderate positive correlation (r = 0.313, p = 0.015) existed between 3-SF and ADP (18.9 ± 5.9%). BIA and ADP were not significantly correlated with each other (r = 0.219, p = 0.093).

Conclusion: Due to its correlation with ADP, 3-SF may be a valid estimation of BF%, while BIA may overestimate BF% in this population.