Predicting Body Composition in College Students Using the Womersley and Durnin Body Mass Index Equation


Jeremy P. Loenneke 1 , * , Kathryn M. Hirt 2 , Jacob M. Wilson 3 , Jeremy T Barnes 4 , Thomas J Pujol 4

1 Department of Health and Exercise Science. The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

2 Cooper Aerobics, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

3 Department of Health Sciences and Human Performance, University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA

4 Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation. Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA

How to Cite: Loenneke J P, Hirt K M, Wilson J M, Barnes J T, Pujol T J. Predicting Body Composition in College Students Using the Womersley and Durnin Body Mass Index Equation, Asian J Sports Med. Online ahead of Print ; 4(2):34516. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.34516.


Asian Journal of Sports Medicine: 4 (2); 153-157
Published Online: February 15, 2013
Article Type: Research Article
Received: August 15, 2012
Accepted: February 11, 2013


Purpose: When assessing fitness levels, body composition is usually measured. The purpose of this study was to determine the overall efficacy of a body mass index (BMI) equation for predicting body composition with respect to college aged participants.

Methods: Body composition was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and was estimated using the Womersley and Durnin BMI prediction equation.

Results: There was no significant (P=0.8) percent body fat (%BF) difference between the BMI prediction equation and DXA (BMI Predicted=25 (10) [min=6; max=52] %BF vs DXA=25 (6) [min=10; max=45] %BF). In addition, a significant correlation was found between the two approaches (r=0.791, P=0.001). However, both the standard error of estimate (6.32 %BF) and total error (6.63 %BF) were outside acceptable ranges for prediction equations.

Conclusion: The Womersley and Durnin equation for estimating %BF was not found to be a good estimate. Therefore, although the BMI predicted %BF has been previously found to predict skinfold estimated %BF, it does not appear valid in estimating %BF from DXA.

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