Anthropometric measurements can be combined with each other or with other information to calculate anthropometric indices. These indices can be used to make inferences about body composition, growth and development.
Examples include body mass index (BMI), which adjusts weight for height to infer "fatness" or "thinness". Waist-to-hip ratio and waist-to-height ratio are used as to infer central distribution of body fat.
Examples of anthropometric indices
- BMI (weight/height2) (kg/m2)
- Waist-to-hip ratio
- Waist-to-height ratio
- Ponderal index (weight/height2) (kg/m2)
- Fat mass index (fat mass/height2) (kg/m2)
- Fat free mass index (lean mass/height2) (kg/m2)
Anthropometric measurements can be adjusted for non-anthropometric parameters (e.g. age and sex) to infer childhood growth and states of under or overnutrition. These adjustments can be performed internally, using means and standard deviations from the study population at hand, or externally, by comparison against published growth reference data. The resulting values are expressed as percentiles or Z-scores (or standard deviation scores), which quantify the extent to which an individual deviates from the population average.