Body composition

M F FULLER, Paul Alfred Francois Fowler, Geraldine McNeill, M A FOSTER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to estimate body composition is of central importance in studies of growth and nutrition, in both animals and man. However, what we mean by body composition and what we wish to estimate differ according to how we view the body. Anatomists may think in terms of the sizes of organs and tissues, physiologists in terms of cellular and extracellular components, nutritionists in terms of nitrogen, lipid or energy contents, animal breeders or butchers in terms of meat, fat and bone. The methods we choose to estimate body composition reflect these different viewpoints. Our aims also dictate the precision we require of our techniques and, since it is generally true that precision is expensive (Kempster, 1984), we need at the outset to define our aims rather carefully, in the form of two questions: what information is needed? how accurate and how precise must it be?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1990


  • computed-tomography
  • fat distribution
  • obesity
  • women
  • metabolism


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