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The relationship between breast size and anthropometric characteristics




Current clinical selection criteria for mammaplasty use weight-related parameters, and weight loss is recommended as a nonsurgical intervention to reduce breast size. However, research has not firmly established if breast size is related to body size and composition. This study aims to investigate anthropometric characteristics in smaller and larger breasted women and identify predictors of breast mass.


A bra fitter determined underband and cup size of 93 A to H cup size women (mean ± standard deviation, age 25.7 ± 5.6 years, height 1.67 ± 0.6 cm, and mass 65.6 ± 11.0 kg). Estimations of breast mass (g) were made, and participants were categorized as smaller (<500 g) or larger (>500 g) breasted. Restricted anthropometric profiles determined body mass, height, body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, sum of eight skinfolds, subscapular to triceps skinfold ratio, somatotype, percent body fat, fat and fat-free mass, and suprasternal notch to nipple distance.


All variables (excluding height, subscapular to triceps skinfold ratio, and age) were significantly greater in larger breasted women. Body mass-related parameters and suprasternal notch to nipple distance were positively related to breast mass, with BMI and suprasternal notch to nipple distance accounting for half of the variance in breast mass.


Smaller and larger breasted women demonstrate differences in anthropometry, with body mass and BMI demonstrating strong relationships to breast mass. Measures of BMI and suprasternal notch to nipple distance enable predictions of breast mass and suggest that weight-related parameters are not appropriate exclusion criteria for mammaplasty. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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