Quality Assurance for Accuracy of Anthropometric Measurements in Clinical and Epidemiological Studies [Errare humanum est = to err is human]
Anthropometry involves the external measurement of morphologic traits of human beings. High quality anthropometric measurements are fundamental to clinical and epidemiological research. The measurements for each method have inherent variations, either due to biologic variation or due to error in measurement. Errors in measurement cannot be avoided completely but they can be minimized to a large extent. We define methods to estimate measurement error in anthropometry, offer guidelines for acceptable error, and suggest ways to minimize measurement error; thereby improving anthropometry quality in health assessments. We propose that special attention be paid to the following six key parameters for quality assurance of anthropometric measurements: (i) Identification of certified lead anthropometrist and trainer, (ii) manual of standard operating procedures, (iii) choice of robust equipment, (iv) equipment calibration, (v) standardization training and certification, and (vi) measurements resampling.