Chapter 3. Key Methodologies in Obesity Research and Practice

  1. Gareth Williams3 and
  2. Gema Frühbeck4
  1. Susan A. Jebb Head1,
  2. Alexandra M. Johnstone2,
  3. Janet Warren1,
  4. Gail R. Goldberg1 and
  5. Les Bluck1

Published Online: 28 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470712221.ch3

Obesity: Science to Practice

Obesity: Science to Practice

How to Cite

Jebb, S. A., Johnstone, A. M., Warren, J., Goldberg, G. R. and Bluck, L. (2009) Key Methodologies in Obesity Research and Practice, in Obesity: Science to Practice (eds G. Williams and G. Frühbeck), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470712221.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

  2. 4

    Department of Endocrinology, Clínica Universitaria, de Navarra, Avda. Pío XII, 36, 31008 - Pamplona, Spain

Author Information

  1. 1

    MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge, CB1 9NL, UK

  2. 2

    The Rowett Institute of Nutrition, and Health, University of Aberdeen, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 27 MAR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470019115

Online ISBN: 9780470712221



  • key methodologies in obesity research and practice;
  • mild or moderate obesity – have adverse health consequences, may be difficult to judge;
  • systematic study of obesity – requires rigorous and relevant measurements;
  • body mass index (BMI);
  • body fat distribution – important risk factor for obesity-related diseases;
  • skinfold thickness (SFT) – double thickness of the epidermis;
  • fat mass (FM) – relatively homogeneous;
  • fat-free mass (FFM) – includes bone mineral, protein, water and glycogen;
  • dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) – used to assess bone mineral density in the vertebral column and femoral neck


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Anthropometric indices

  • Measurements of body composition

  • Measurements of fat distribution

  • Measuring energy balance

  • Assessing insulin sensitivity

  • References