An anthropometric model for nutrition research of Estonian female students


  • Jana Peterson Centre for Physical Anthropology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  • Helje Kaarma Centre for Physical Anthropology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  • Säde Koskel Centre for Physical Anthropology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia



body build, nutrition, anthropometry, daily energy and nutrient content, height and weight classification


The study is focused on creating an anthropometric model that would enable to associate the body build peculiarities with nutritional variables. Thirty-six body measurements and 12 skinfolds were measured on 131 17–23-year-old female students of the University of Tartu, and 12 body composition characteristics were calculated. The subjects had to submit descriptions of their 24-hour menus. Nutrient intake was determined using the Micro-Nutrica software and the food composition database; the energy (in kcal) and main nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) content in the subjects’ 24-hour menus were calculated. All body measurements were compared with nutritional variables, and 29 anthropometric variables were found that showed statistically significant correlations with at least one nutrient characteristic. The amount of food consumed correlated positively with body density and negatively with weight, circumferences, skinfolds and all indicators of body fat content (r reached 0.32). To associate body size, shape and composition with the amount of food consumed, a 5 SD height and weight classification was used, which consisted of three classes of concordance between height and weight (small, medium, large) and two classes of disconcordance – pyknomorphs and leptomorphs. All the 29 body measurements and nutrient were distributed systematically between the different classes. The pyknomorphous class with its greater body fat content and smaller density contrasted clearly with the class of leptomorphs. Food consumption in total as well as per 1 kg of body weight was smaller in pyknics than in leptosomes. Protein consumption did not reveal statistically significant differences. One should not overestimate the significance of BMI in nutritional studies. BMI characterises only obesity and cannot replace the characterisation of different body types. In our study, BMI of the small and the leptosomic class was almost equal, although these body types differ greatly from each other.


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