Before entering fully into the clarification of the meaning of the term
anthropometry, we must know its etymological origin. In this case we can say
that it is a word that derives from the Greek. Exactly is the result of the
union of three clearly defined components:
-The noun "anthropos", which can be translated as "man".
-The name "métron", which is equivalent to "measure".
-The suffix "-ia", which is used to indicate "quality".
It called anthropometry to the analysis of body
measurements and proportions of the human being. According to
branch of the so-called biological anthropology aims to detail
the differences between the races and to specify the physical modifications that
our species underwent over time.
In order to know the body composition, anthropometric experts carry out their
measurements using a method that is non-invasive and, in addition, is very
simple. Specifically, they measure aspects such as basic issues such as weight,
height or wingspan.
However, in addition to everything indicated, they also perform bone diameter
measurements (humeral, femoral, biachromial...), perimeters (head, neck, hips,
calf...), lengths (trochanteric, foot, acromio-radial, iliospinal...) or skin
folds (calf, biceps, abdominal, triceps...).
It is important to note that the characteristics of the human body do not
remain unchanged. In fact, human beings of the 21st century are
very different, physically, than the people who lived in the 1st
century, for example. This is due to changes in habits, ethnic
composition and other issues that modify the dimensions of the body.
We can appreciate the anthropometric changes by analyzing what happens with
obesity. In the United States and in other countries,
modifications have been developed in diet: today people eat junk food that
favors the development of overweight. In this way, anthropometry has shown how
the body measurements of Americans have changed in recent
decades as a result of this unhealthy diet.
In addition to all the above, we can establish another series of relevant
data about anthropometry, among which the following stand out:
-It is a discipline that has its origin in the eighteenth century.
-It is considered that the first time that it was spoken of as such was in the
year 1870. It was in the work entitled "Anthropométrie" by a Belgian
mathematician named Quételet (1796 - 1874).
-It was from the year 1940 when anthropometry became much more relevant and a
priority in areas such as aeronautics.
-An element that is essential in the origins of anthropometry is the drawing
made by Leonardo da Vinci and which responds to the name "Vitruvian Man".
Anthropometry is also very important in different branches of design. An
office furniture manufacturer, to cite a case, needs to appeal to anthropometric
data to design its products. Even apparel designers need to consider average body measurements to
determine clothing sizes.
When anthropometry studies are applied to sports performance, we speak of
kinenthropometry. Its objective is to optimize the development of activities
based on anthropometric techniques.