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Can we use the Jackson and Pollock equations to predict body density/fat of obese individuals in the 21st century?

By Alan M. Nevill, Giorgos S. Metsios, A.S. Jackson, J. Wang, J. Thornton and D. Gallagher


The full text pdf appears with the kind permission of the publisher, Smith-Gordon.Objective: Jackson and Pollock’s (JP) ground-breaking research reporting generalized body density equations\ud to estimate body fat was carried out in the late 1970s. Since then we have experienced an ‘obesity\ud epidemic’. Our aim was to examine whether the original quadratic equations established by Jackson and\ud co-workers are valid in the 21st century.\ud Methods: Reanalyzing the original JP data, an alternative, more biologically sound exponential powerfunction\ud model for body density is proposed that declines monotonically, and hence predicts body fat to\ud rise monotonically, with increasing skin-fold thicknesses. The model also remains positive irrespective of\ud the subjects’ sum-of-skinfold thicknesses or age.\ud Results: Compared to the original quadratic model proposed by JP, our alternative exponential power-function\ud model is theoretically and empirically more accurate when predicting body fat of obese subjects (sums\ud of skinfolds >120mm). A cross-validation study on 14 obese subjects confirmed these observations, when\ud the JP quadratic equations under estimated body fat predicted using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry\ud (DXA) by 2.1% whereas our exponential power-function model was found to underestimate body fat by\ud less than 1.0%. Otherwise, the agreement between the DXA fat (%) and the two models were found to be\ud almost identical, with both coefficients of variation being 10.2%.\ud Conclusions: Caution should be exercised when predicting body fat using the JP quadratic equations for\ud subjects with sums of skinfolds>120 mm. For these subjects, we recommend estimating body fat using the\ud tables reported in the present manuscript, based on the more biologically sound and empirically valid\ud exponential power-function model

Topics: Body density, Monotonic decline, Percentage body fat, Skinfold thickness, Body Mass Index, Body composition, BMI
Publisher: Smith-Gordon
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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