The accuracy of measurement
is, as one would expect, dependant upon the accuracy of the equipment
used, the correct selection and location of the skinfold sites, the proper
technique in taking the measurements, and the experience of the user.
- A TAPE MEASURE - To assist
in locating the correct site.
- SKINFOLD CALIPER - Accurately
calibrated and with a constant spring pressure of 10g/mm2 throughout
its entire range. Your Harpenden Caliper has been calibrated to this
performance prior to disptch from the factory.
Skinfold Caliper Body Assessment Software
CORRECT TECHNIQUE Essential
for accurate and repeatable tests, specific guidelines for taking skinfold
measurements have been established. Following a standard method of assessment
helps ensure accuracy and repeatability on future testing.
- Measurement should be
taken on healthy undamaged, uninfected dry skin. Moist skin is harder
to grasp and can influence the measurement.
- Do not use the Caliper
on broken or infected skin.
- Instruct the test subject
to keep the muscles relaxed during the test.
- Take all measurements
on the right side of the body. An exception might be where a deformity
or missing limb would necessitate using the left side.
- Mark the skinfold site
using a pen with water soluble ink. Use a tape measure to accurately
find the mid-points.
- The skinfold should be
firmly grasped by the thumb and index finger, using the pads at the
tip of the thumb and finger. Gently pull the skinfold away from the
- The Caliper should be
placed perpendicular to the fold, on the site marked, dial up, at approximately
1 cm below the finger and thumb. While maintaining the grasp of the
skinfold, allow the Caliper to be released so that full tension is placed
on the skinfold.
- The dial should be read
to the nearest 0.50 mm, 1 to 2 seconds after the grip has been fully
- The Caliper should not
be placed too close to the body or too far away on the tip of the skinfold.
Try to visualise the location of a true double fold of skin thickness,
and place the Caliper there.
- A minimum of two measurements
should be taken at each site. If repeated tests vary by more than 1
mm, repeat the measurement. If consecutive measurements become increasingly
smaller, the fat is being compressed. Go to another site and come back
a little later and recheck the problem site.
- The final value recorded
should be the average of the two that seems best to represent the skinfold
- Record each skinfold as
you measure it. It is easy to forget the first measurement if you try
to keep it all in your head.
- Experience is necessary
to grasp the same size skinfold in the same location consistently. Practice
these techniques until you get consistent results.