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Effects of clothing on accuracy and reliability of air displacement plethysmography


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 282-285
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

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.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.