How well do skinfold equations predict percent body fat in elite soccer players?

T. Reilly, K. George, M. Marfell-Jones, M. Scott, L. Sutton, J. A. Wallace

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    73 Citations (SciVal)


    The use of generic equations for estimating percent body fat from skinfold thicknesses can be criticised when applied to specific sports. The present aims were to compare existing methods of using skinfold data and to derive an equation for predicting body fat values in professional soccer players. Forty-five professional soccer players (24.2±5.0 years; 82.0±8.5 kg; 1.82±0.07 m) participated. Skinfold thicknesses were assessed at eight sites for the application of existing prediction equations. Skinfold data were also utilised to determine a novel soccer-specific equation. All players had a reference estimate of percent fat by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The existing skinfold equations differed from the DXA-referenced values by varying degrees, the equation of Withers et al. (1987) demonstrating the lowest bias and highest relationship and agreement with DXA. Regression analysis resulted in an equation incorporating anterior thigh, abdominal, triceps and medial calf sites, accounting for 78.4% variance in DXA criterion values.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)607-613
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2009


    • adiposity
    • BMI
    • DXA
    • fat patterning
    • skinfold


    Dive into the research topics of 'How well do skinfold equations predict percent body fat in elite soccer players?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this