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Validation of the Anthropometry Dataset.

The challenge of producing a modern dataset by updating existing older data lies almost entirely in the "fatty" dimensions.  Bony dimensions have changed less since the time of the original anthropometry surveys, and have been shown by Pheasant to scale reliably with stature.  PeopleSize 2008 uses several techniques to update fatty dimensions, described in the Help System.  This page describes how accurate the process proved to be.

The PeopleSize 2008 dataset was validated against two 'gold standard' population surveys, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the US Government and the the Health Survey for England conducted by the UK Government.

Both these surveys are part of regular long-term monitoring activities, which have the best sampling procedures and the best statistical treatment of the data, to ensure that they are representative of the population.  They are particularly effective at persuading pre-selected individuals to agree to participate, and so the samples are more accurate than clothing and other one-off surveys.  Clothing surveys characteristically show populations to be taller and lighter than they really are, because the shortest and heaviest individuals more often decline to participate.

The NHANES data were collected in 2003-6, and the HSE data in 2005.  For this test, old survey data from 1991, 1993 and 1956 were fed into the PeopleSize process, then their updated values were compared with the benchmark new data.


Men 18-64 2003-6
Survey 5%ile
PZ2008 5%ile 2003-6
Survey 95%ile
PZ2008 95%ile Error 5%ile Error
95%ile
PZ source year
Waist Circumference, at the midpoint 780 794 1189 1172 1.8% -1.4% 1993
Hip Circumference, maximum 935 931 1190 1190 -0.4% 0.0% 1993
Upper Leg length, surface 371 373 480 486 0.5% 1.3% 1991
Calf circumference, maximum 340 331 466 469 -2.6% 0.6% 1956
Upper Arm circumference, at the midpoint 278 281 417 416 1.1% -0.2% 1991
Waist Circumference, abdominal 770 768 1271 1240 -0.3% -2.4% 1991
Thigh circumference, at the midpoint 454 454 652 637 0.0% -2.3% 1991
Women 18-64        
Waist Circumference, at the midpoint 682 665 1104 1081 -2.5% -2.1% 1993
Hip Circumference, maximum 904 895 1276 1259 -1.0% -1.3% 1993
Upper Leg length, surface 332 339 434 443 2.1% 2.1% 1991
Calf circumference, maximum 321 324 473 471 0.9% -0.4% 1956
Upper Arm circumference, at the midpoint 243 241 422 428 -0.8% 1.4% 1991
Waist Circumference, abdominal 715 692 1240 1248 -3.2% 0.6% 1991
Thigh circumference, at the midpoint 431 432 685 673 0.2% -1.8% 1991
average error 0.0% -0.1%
  These results allow us to have good confidence in the PeopleSize data, particularly in view of the fact that these are the most difficult fatty dimensions, and at 5th and 95th percentile not just the average.  Overall the updating process was almost perfect, with individual dimensions within about 3% margin.


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