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(ănthrəpŏm`ətrē), technique of measuring the human body in terms of dimensions, proportions, and ratios such as those provided by the cephalic indexcephalic index
[Gr. kephale=head], ratio of the breadth of the head to its length. Expressed as a percental number, it provides the simplest description of the geometric relation of two dimensions.
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. Once the standard approach to racial classification and comparing humans to other primates, the technique is now used for deciding the range of clothing sizes to be manufactured and determining the nutritional status of people.


See A. Montagu, A Handbook of Anthropometry (1960); R. McCammon, Human Growth and Development (1970).



a combination of methodological procedures in anthropological research, consisting of the measurement and description (anthroposcopy) of the entire human body and its individual parts, thereby yielding a quantitative index of their variability.

The comprehensive nature of anthropometric research permits the evaluation and comparison of feature variability among different racial, age, professional, and sexual groups based on measurements from a large number of individuals. The origin of anthropometry as a scientific method dates to the 19th century and is associated with the well-known French anthropologist P. Broca. Significant contributions to its further development were made by foreign (R. Martin and others) and Soviet anthropologists (V. V. Bunak, A. I. Iarkho, and others). Features are distinguished by measurements and by description. The former are determined with the aid of anthropological instruments (anthropometers, spreading and sliding calipers, tapes, and so forth). A measurement is taken between precisely fixed anthropometric points which represent parts of the external body structure that are relatively

easily accessible for observation. Total dimensions of the body (body length, mass, and chest circumference) and partial dimensions (width of the foot, length of the wrist, and so forth) are selected. Determination of descriptive features (shapes of body parts, facial features, skin pigmentation, hair and eye coloring, hair structure, and so forth) is done with the aid of scales, molds, and schematic drawings constructed on the basis of precisely delimited criteria. For example, V. V. Bunak’s eye-color scale allows for 12 variations of iris pigmentation, and the Fisher-Sailer hair-color scale differentiates 40 shades. The methods of anthropological photography find wide application in anthropometry.

There is a characteristic tendency in anthropometry to replace descriptive features with more precise measurements and to introduce modern methods of analysis (X rays, ultrasonics, and labeled compounds). The selection of anthropometric methods, points, and features is dictated by the aims of the specific anthropological study. In race studies and ethnic anthropology the head, face, cranium, and body length are measured, and color scales are used for the eyes, skin, hair, and so forth, in order to differentiate racial types. In human morphology, and particularly in the study of physical development, the characteristics of bulk, body length (growth), and other measures of length, diameter, and circumference are taken into consideration. On the basis of these measurements, scales are constructed that enable one to determine the degree of physical development in individuals and in different population groups.

The data gathered in the process of an anthropometric investigation are subject to statistical variation (biometric) analysis and are presented in the form of tables, graphs, and diagrams. The standardization of articles for mass production (for example, clothing and footwear) and the efficient layout of work spaces are also based on anthropometric data. In addition, anthropometric data are used in criminal law for the description and identification of criminals.


Bunak, V. V. Antropometriia: Prakticheskii kurs. Moscow, 1941.



Description of the physical variation in humankind by measurement; a basic technique of physical anthropology.
References in periodicals archive ?
Based on analysis performed by (34), it has been shown that the most variation of the anthropometric measurements of the human hand can be attributed to two main anthropometric measurements, which represent hand width and hand length.
Nonparametric analysis of variance (Table 4) indicated a significant difference between playing positions in three anthropometric variables.
Regular anthropometric tracking in children is a valuable tool in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of many conditions, including excess fat mass.
In the short-term, migration is found to increase height and reduce stunting of 0- to 2-yr-olds, and increase weight, body mass index (BMI) and obesity of 3- to 5-yr-olds, and have no impact on anthropometrics but lead to better parental-reported health for 6- to 18-yr-olds.
But there were no significant differences between the two groups in anthropometric or lipid values.
Ultimately, flamboyant practitioners of anthropometrics like Hickson served to discredit the criminal laboratory movement.
Many of the chapters of this authoritative handbook have been updated in the second edition, including those on theories of the causes of injury, anthropometrics, assessing mechanical exposure in work design, determining muscle strength, biomechanics of gloves, studies of whiplash injuries, and whole body vibration.
Usually such indicators are constituted on the basis of anthropometrics survey of calorie intake, but such survey does not take place in Pakistan.
Sweeteners and beta-glucans improve metabolic and anthropometrics variables in well controlled type 2 diabetic patients.
adults and children and to determine the nutritional contribution of rice to the diet and the relationship of rice consumption to specific health parameters, including anthropometrics, blood pressure, blood lipids, and risk for metabolic syndrome using 1999-2004 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).