gms | German Medical Science

MAINZ//2011: 56. GMDS-Jahrestagung und 6. DGEpi-Jahrestagung

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie e. V.

26. - 29.09.2011 in Mainz

3D-Bodyscanner – feasibility for epidemiological studies

Meeting Abstract

  • Peter Ahnert - Universität Leipzig, IMISE / LIFE, Leipzig
  • Anja Broda - Universität Leipzig, IMISE / LIFE, Leipzig
  • Markus Löffler - Universität Leipzig, IMISE / LIFE, Leipzig
  • Markus Scholz - Universität Leipzig, IMISE / LIFE, Leipzig

Mainz//2011. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (gmds), 6. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie (DGEpi). Mainz, 26.-29.09.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11gmds382

doi: 10.3205/11gmds382, urn:nbn:de:0183-11gmds3821

Published: September 20, 2011

© 2011 Ahnert et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Anthropometric measures comprise direct body measures such as body height, weight, or waist circumference as well as derived measures such as waist to hip ratio. They are among the basic descriptive parameters of epidemiological studies addressing a multitude of mainly health-related questions. They correlate with disease risk, morbidity, and mortality. Body measures may play a role as confounders or exposures. Despite this obvious importance, in most studies only a small number of different body measures are taken, likely due to the extent of effort and time necessary to obtain measures sufficiently reliable and reproducible in the context of epidemiology.

3D body scanning technologies promise to provide a large number of body measures. Scanning itself takes only seconds, generating a “virtual twin” on which measurements are taken by dedicated algorithms and may be obtained even if defined in retrospect. Physical markers allow measurements not defined by visible body features. 3D body scanning techniques have been available for several years and have been applied in large surveys producing datasets for the textile and automotive industries. To our knowledge, 3D body scanning has not been evaluated in the context of epidemiologic studies.

Within the LIFE-Project [1] a population based cohort of 10,000 adults will be recruited and comprehensively phenotyped, including 3D body scanning. In this context we conducted a feasibility and reliability study on classical anthropometry and 3D body scanning. Measures were taken repeatedly by the same or by different observers to obtain estimates for intra- and inter-rater reliability for both approaches. We aim to compare related measures to allow conclusions on exchangeability of classical anthropometry and 3D body scanning and to develop SOPs and teaching materials. Probands (N=144, recruitment ongoing) were recruited as a convenience sample. Age varied from 34 to 81 years, BMI from 18 to 39. Seven body measures were obtained in triplicate by classical anthropometry according to WHO protocol: body height, weight, and circumferences of waist, hip, upper arm, thigh, and calf. With the 3D body scanner “Anthroscan VITUS SMART” (Human Solutions) [2] scans were obtained with and without physical markers. Documentation comprised body measures, sociodemography, status of relevant diseases, measurement time, as well as a questionnaire on acceptance of the techniques. While our sample was not representative of the general population, we provide insight into the applicability of 3D body scanning for epidemiological studies. Complete results of the study will be available at the time of conference.


LIFE, Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases. Available from: External link
2. External link