VESCOVI, J. D., S. L. ZIMMERMAN, W. C. MILLER, and B. FERNHALL. Effects of clothing on accuracy and reliability of air displacement plethysmography. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 282–285, 2002.
Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the effects of different attire on the accuracy and reliability of estimating percent body fat (%fat) by using air displacement plethysmography (ADP).
Methods: Fifteen adults were tested four times on four separate occasions. Each session consisted of estimating %fat with ADP wearing a swimsuit (ADPSS), a hospital gown (ADPHG), and in the nude (ADPN), plus assessment by hydrostatic weighing (HW).
Results: An ANOVA revealed no significant differences within any of the four methods over the 4 days. Intraclass correlation coefficients revealed a strong relationship for repeated measures in ADPSS (r = 0.981), ADPHG (r = 0.993), ADPN (r = 0.989), and HW (r = 0.976). Mean data for each condition indicated a significant underestimation (P < 0.05) of %fat while wearing a hospital gown (13.8 ± 7.7%) compared with ADPSS (22.0 ± 7.8%), ADPN (23.5 ± 7.5%), and HW (22.6 ± 6.8%).
Conclusion: Reliability of ADP does not appear to be compromised by clothing; however, wearing a hospital gown significantly affects accuracy, reducing %fat estimations by approximately 9% compared with the recommended swimsuit. Measurement in the nude does not provide more reliable or accurate measures than wearing a swimsuit.
The George Washington University Medical Center, School of Public Health and Health Services, Exercise Science Programs, Washington, DC 20052
Submitted for publication January 2001.
Accepted for publication May 2001.