The Durnin-Womersley body fat measurement method is among the more popular body fat calculation techniques because of the method’s rather simple equations. Developed in 1974 by J. V. G. A. Durnin and J. Womersley, this method utilizes four skinfold measurements, which are the same for both males and females, to estimate body fat percentages. The formulas were originally created through a study of 481 individuals with ages that ranged from 16 to 72. The Durnin-Womersley study was later published via the British Journal of Nutrition in 1974.

Considering the wide variety of subjects tested through Durnin and Womersley’s original study, this method is beneficial for nearly anyone who wants to estimate body fat percentage. However, because of the range of individuals utilized in the design, as well as the overall simplicity of the formulas, the results from the Durnin-Womersley body fat test tend to be slightly less accurate when compared to results from other methods of measuring body fat. Furthermore, athletes and extremely fit individuals occasionally report inaccurate body fat estimations because of the formulas’ core fundamentals. Therefore, while the Durnin-Womersley method is good for generalizing body fat percentage in the average person, it shouldn’t be relied upon to give extremely accurate body fat results. Although, the method should help just about anyone better understand their overall level of health and fitness.

If you need help with measuring body fat with calipers, be sure to check out our guide.

Durnin-Womersley Skinfold Locations for Males and Females

  • Tricep: The tricep measurement is a vertical skinfold that is acquired halfway between the top portion of the shoulder and the elbow.
  • Bicep: The bicep skinfold consists of a vertical fold parallel to the arm, located directly over the bicep and halfway between the shoulder and elbow.
  • Subscapular: The subscapular site is located at the bottom tip of the shoulder blade. Acquire the skinfold measurement at a 45 degree angle, approximately two centimeters below the bottom tip of the shoulder blade. This orientation should be almost be parallel to the inside angle of the shoulder blade itself.
  • Suprailiac: For the suprailiac measurement, locate the anterior (front) part of the axilla (armpit). Then, follow a vertical line down toward the hip until the hipbone is reached. The skinfold at this location should be at a 45-degree angle, going up and away from the body, approximately two inches above the iliac crest, otherwise known as the area above the upper and forward protrusion of the hip bone. Specifically, the skinfold is located between the top portion of the hipbone on the side of the body and the bony portion of the same hipbone along the lower right of the body.

Durnin-Womersley Body Fat Formula for Males and Females

If you would like to calculate body fat using the Durnin-Womersley method, use whichever formula corresponds to the test subject’s age and gender.

Measure the following skinfolds (in millimeters) with body fat calipers:
Tricep, Bicep, Subscapular and Suprailiac

Age (in years) Equations for Males Equations for Females
< 17 D = 1.1533 – (0.0643 X L) D = 1.1369 – (0.0598 X L)
17-19 D = 1.1620 – (0.0630 X L) D = 1.1549 – (0.0678 X L)
20-29 D = 1.1631 – (0.0632 X L) D = 1.1599 – (0.0717 X L)
30-39 D = 1.1422 – (0.0544 X L) D = 1.1423 – (0.0632 X L)
40 -49 D = 1.1620 – (0.0700 X L) D = 1.1333 – (0.0612 X L)
> 50 D = 1.1715 – (0.0779 X L) D = 1.1339 – (0.0645 X L)

(D= Body Density; L= Log of the sum of skinfolds)

Body Fat Percentage (%) = (495 / Body Density) – 450

Durnin-Womersley Body Fat Formula on FatCaliper+

The free version of FatCaliper+ comes with the Jackson-Pollock 3 and BMI body fat formulas. The full version of FatCaliper+ also comes with advanced body fat formulas, including Jackson-Pollock 4, Jackson-Pollock 7, Durnin-Womersley, Yuhasz, Parillo, US Navy and the FatCaliper+ method. BMI is automatically calculated as part of all body fat measurement methods.