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Ponderal Index (PI)

The Ponderal Index is a measure of body composition using height and weight. It is also known as the Corpulence Index (CI) and the Rohrer's Index, as it was first proposed in 1921 as the "Corpulence measure" by Swiss physician Fritz Rohrer. The BMI is a more common calculation of body fatness using the same measurements. See also other methods for measuring ideal weight.

equipment required: scales and stadiometer for measuring weight and height.

procedure: PI is calculated from measurements of body mass (M) and height (H). PI = the cube root of body weight divided by height, where body mass is in kilograms and height in meters. Be aware that there are variations of this formula which are also sometimes called the Ponderal Index. There is also the reciprocal ponderal index, which is of course the height divided by the cube root of body weight.

Ponderal Index = Ht (m) / Cube Root of Wt (kg)

scoring: The higher the score indicating higher levels of body fat. When using the units of kilograms and meters a normal PI index value is about 12. When using pounds and inches units, normal values are between 12.5 and 14.

target population: PI is commonly used in pediatrics.

advantages: a simple calculation from standard anthropometrical measurements

other comments: Other simple measures of body composition, such as skinfolds measurement, would be preferable if available.

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