The association between knee breadth and body mass: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 case study

Asla Keisu, Petteri Oura, Markku Niskanen, Christopher B. Ruff, Jaakko Niinimäki, Timo Arvola, Juha Auvinen, Juha Tuukkanen, Petri Lehenkari, Juho Antti Junno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Body mass estimation from skeletal dimensions is a useful tool when studying archeological human samples. Bony articular surface dimensions of the lower limb have frequently been utilized to estimate body size. In the present study, we investigated the association between knee breadth and body mass in a Northern European population. Our study aimed to confirm both methodology and results presented in earlier studies. Materials and methods: The study sample consists of 1,290 subjects belonging to the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Three knee breadth dimensions—femoral biepicondylar breadth, mediolateral breadth of femoral condyles, and mediolateral breadth of the tibial plateau—were measured from subjects' knee PA-radiographs. Measurements and their association with body weight at 31 years were utilized for creating body mass estimation equations using linear regression and reduced major axis regression. Correlations between knee measurements and body weight at three different ages (18, 31, and 46) were also analyzed. Results: Positive associations were detected between each knee breadth variable and weight in the total sample and both genders separately. Body mass estimation equations were created for the total sample, for males and for females. R values of the models ranged from 0.38 to 0.74. Median absolute percent prediction errors ranged from 6.89 to 9.72%. The highest correlations were obtained between knee breadth and body weight in early adulthood. Discussion: Our large sample confirmed that equations derived from knee breadth dimensions are accurate when estimating body mass of modern humans. Knee breadth measurements clearly have a positive association with body weight in early maturity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • anthropology
  • body mass
  • body mass estimation
  • knee breadth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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