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Proceedings Paper

The Use Of Biostereometric Methods To Study Astronaut Body Composition
Author(s): M. W. Whittle
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Paper Abstract

Biostereometric analysis of body form was performed preflight and postflight on the 9 Skylab astronauts, using 4-camera stereophotogrammetry. The estimated standard deviation of the measurement of total body volume was 2-3%, but it should be possible to improve this to 1-2%, given some comparative studies with other methods, and some improvements in technique. The accuracy would then be comparable with underwater weighing, which is acknowledged to be the best currently available method for determining body density, and hence calculating body fat. Improvements beyond this accuracy are unlikely to lead to an enhancement in the accuracy of estimating body fat, because of uncertainties in the relationship between body fat and body density. Biostereometric analysis possesses one important advantage over underwater weighing, in that it is able to measure the volume of any chosen region of the body. This ability was used on Skylab to study the changes in leg muscle over the course of the flight, and also to measure the changes in body fat, which were particularly evident in the volume of the abdomen and buttocks. This approach would be greatly enhanced, however, by studies on the effects of diet and exercice on the volume of different body regions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 July 1980
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0166, NATO Symposium on Applications of Human Biostereometrics, (29 July 1980); doi: 10.1117/12.956961
Show Author Affiliations
M. W. Whittle, R.A.F. Institute of Aviation Medicine (England)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0166:
NATO Symposium on Applications of Human Biostereometrics
A. M. Coblentz; Robin E. Herron, Editor(s)

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