Body Composition FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about body composition tests. See more fitness testing FAQs.
- Where can I get my body composition measured?
- Why do they use those particular skinfold sites?
- Is it wrong to take the measurement of skinfold with the clothes on?
If you want just your skinfolds measured, try your local gym or a sports dietitian. If you are after underwater weighing or other more complex body composition measurements, try the kinesiology / physical education department of your local university.
I do not know why each particular skinfold site is used, however, I know that there have been other sites used previously that are no longer in vogue. Earlier research would have used a greater number of sites, and this number would have been whittled down till they found the current sites (up to 7) which give the best correlation when compared to the original criterion measure of bodyfat measurement, hydrostatic weighing. There is a compromise between having a small number of sites to measure (and less chance of an error being made), with a large number of sites which would give an overall measure of the distribution of bodyfat (as this varies widely between individuals).
Taking skinfold measurements with clothes on does affect you accuracy and reliability, so it is not an ideal way to do the test. However, sometimes you have to do such measurements when it is appropriate for a modest client. If you have no choice but to take the measurement through clothes, you can take a measurement of the thickness of the clothes using the calipers, then subtract that from your skinfold measure.