Body Surface Area (BSA)
Body Surface Area or BSA is not a measurement used commonly in fitness assessment, but is a common measure in the medical field and part of the complete body size and composition profile. Various BSA formulas have been developed over the years, originally by Dr.s Du Bois & Du Bois, followed by Gehan and George, Haycock, Boyd and Mosteller.
The formula shown below give slightly different results - the formula by Mosteller is the simplest and can be memorized and easily calculated with a hand-held calculator, and therefore is the most used and is recommended.
purpose: body surface area is used in the medical field when calculating drug doses, though is relevant to sports when looking at responses to the heat and cold.
equipment required: scales for measuring weight, stadiometer for measuring height, calculator for working out the formula.
procedure: determine height and weight using standard procedures. Use the relevant formula (whether you used kg/cm or lbs/in). A calculator is available to convert cm and inches and convert kg and lbs.
formula: This is the formula by Mosteller (1987):
if using cm and kilograms:
BSA (m²) = ( [Height(cm) x Weight(kg) ]/ 3600 )^½
e.g. BSA = SQRT( (cm*kg)/3600 )
if using inches and pounds:
BSA (m²) = ( [Height(in) x Weight(lbs) ]/ 3131 )^½
- Mosteller RD: Simplified Calculation of Body Surface Area. N Engl J Med 1987 Oct 22;317(17):1098 (letter)
- DuBois D; DuBois EF: A formula to estimate the approximate surface area if height and weight be known. Arch Int Med 1916 17:863-71.
- Haycock G.B., Schwartz G.J.,Wisotsky D.H. Geometric method for measuring body surface area: A height weight formula validated in infants, children and adults. The Journal of Pediatrics 1978 93:1:62-66
- Gehan EA, George SL, Estimation of human body surface area from height and weight. Cancer Chemother Rep 1970 54:225-35.