Allometric scaling and growth: Evaluation and applications in subadult body mass estimation

An Di Yim, Lyle W. Konigsberg, Hsiao Lin Hwa, Chin Chen Chang, Jo Yu Chen, Hon Man Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Previously developed methods in subadult body mass estimation have not been tested in populations other than European–American or African–American. This study uses a contemporary Taiwanese sample to test these methods. Through evaluating their accuracy and bias, we addressed whether the allometric relationships between body mass and skeletal traits commonly used in subadult body mass estimation are conserved among different populations. Materials and Methods: Computed tomography scans of lower limbs from individuals aged 0–17 years old of both sexes were collected from National Taiwan University Hospital along with documented body weight. Polar second moment of area, distal femoral metaphyseal breadth, and maximum superior/inferior femoral head diameter were collected either directly from the scans or from reconstructed 3D models. Estimated body mass was compared with documented body mass to assess the performance of the equations. Results: Current methods provided good body mass estimates in Taiwanese individuals, with accuracy and bias similar to those reported in other validation studies. A tendency for increasing error with increasing age was observed for all methods. Reduced major axis regression showed the allometric relationships between different skeletal traits and body mass across different age categories can all be summarized using a common fitted line. A revised, maximum likelihood-based approach was proposed for all skeletal traits. Discussion: The results suggested that the allometric relationships between body mass and different skeletal traits are largely conserved among populations. The revised method provided improved applicability with strong underlying theoretical justifications, and potential for future improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-588
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • accuracy
  • allometry
  • bias
  • body mass estimation
  • growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Anatomy


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