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Abstract

Ultrasonic and skinfold caliper measures of subcutaneous adipose tissue were taken in a sample of elderly men and women, 65 to 99 years of age with an A-mode Ithaco Body Composition Meter and a Holtain skinfold caliper. For most of the measurements, standard deviations for the ultrasonic measurements were three or more times larger than corresponding caliper measurements. Also, mean absolute interobserver errors for the ultrasonic measurements were considerably larger than those for skinfold calipers. At best, the interobserver reliability for the ultrasound machine was 68% while the poorest reliability for the skinfold caliper was 88%. In the form tested, the Ithaco Body Composition Meter is not as accurate for measuring subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness in the elderly as a Holtain skinfold caliper.