Anthropometric Survey of Worker Population in Bandar-Abbas


Seyed Hassan Eftekhar Vaghefi 1 , Leila Elyasi 1 , * , Saeed Reza Amirian 2 , Shahrzad Eftekhar Vaghefi 3


1 Department of Medical Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Kerman University of medical Sciences, Kerman, IR Iran

2 Department of occupational therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, IR Iran

3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Shahid Bahonar University, Kerman, IR Iran


Thrita: 3 (1); e11669
Published Online: February 1, 2014
Article Type: Research Article
Received: April 22, 2013
Revised: June 12, 2013
Accepted: December 19, 2013




Background: To assess a dimensional fit between human and his equipment or environment, creating an anthropometric data bank is essential. Anthropometry has an important role in industrial management and ergonomic design. This information must be collected regularly in every population.

Objectives: The main objective of this study was to collect the results of anthropometrical measurements of a statistically-valid population of males and females, in Bandar Abbas city, Hormozgan province, Iran.

Materials and Methods: In this descriptive and analytical study, we used a static and direct method. Cluster sampling method was used to select the subjects. Participants were 1600 randomly-selected Iranian male (n = 568) and female (n = 1031) workers of five hospitals in Bandar Abbas. Thirty seven static dimensions were measured in the individuals aged 20 - 60. For anthropometric measurement, tape, goniometer, caliper, segmometer, headboard, and weighing scales were used.

Results: For females, the average height was 158 cm, sitting height 82 cm, and knee height 48 cm; for males the average height was173 cm, sitting height 92 cm and knee height 52 cm. The average weight was 77 kg for males and 59 kg for females. There were significant differences between males and females regarding sitting and standing height, weight, and other dimensions (P < 0.000).

Conclusions: The gathered data from 1600 Iranian workers in this study will hopefully be applied in the ergonomic design of workstations, tools, equipment, layout designs and interventions, uniquely well-suited for Iranian workers. The use of anthropometric data in designing a product can reduce human errors and improve public health and quality of products and efficient use of workplaces.


Anthropometry Environment Design Healthy Worker Effect

Copyright © 2014, Thrita. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.
1. Background

Anthropometry is the science of measurement of body characteristics such as reach, body segment length, circumferences, widths and heights. This information can be used to improve the design of tools, equipment, workstations and clothes. Appropriate use of anthropometry in designing may improve well-being, health, comfort, and safety (1).

When there is a suitable database to determine the standard dimensions and design of adjustable instruments, a lot of musculoskeletal disorders and work-related injuries will be prevented. The proper ergonomic design of a workplace increases the employee’s job satisfaction and reduces the accident rates. Successful commercial enterprises have combined proper designing along with application of proper ergonomics in their programs as a useful strategy to achieve the maximum economic benefit and quality (2). Anthropometric factors are age, sex, race, nutrition, exercise and occupation (3).

There exist several anthropometry databases such as the anthropometries of: hand in Jordanian population (4), elderly in Australia (5), Taiwanese women (6), Thai population (7),Portuguese workers (8), Turkish population (9), Bahraini school children (10), north eastern Indian female farm workers (11), and Sri Lankan university students (12).

Available anthropometric data of the Iranian population are very limited. Mououdi et al. and Jonidy studied the static anthropometric characteristics of students in Tehran, but information from other regions of Iran is not available (13, 14). Since 2008, however, there has been no publication of anthropometric data concerning the Iranian population. Our study updates the anthropometric data of Iranian people in which the data is collected from regions other than Tehran.

2. Objectives

The main objective of this study was to measure some anthropometric variables conducted on males and females in Hormozgan province (Bandar Abbas city), Iran. The second objective was to determine reliable and accurate structural anthropometric measurements for male and female population to be used in the product design process.

3. Materials and Methods

In this descriptive and analytical study, we used a static and direct method. Thirty seven static body dimensions were measured. We used cluster sampling method to select from the employees working in hospitals of Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences. Measurements included height, width, depth, circumstance, reach and length. Pheasant and Haslegrave method was used to measure the dimensions (15). Body landmarks are shown in Figures 1 to 3 (2).

Figure 1. Body Measurements in the Standing Position (2)
Figure 2. Body Measurements in the Sitting Position (2)
Figure 3. Body Measurements in the Standing/Sitting Position (2)

The measurement method was based on the direct method using low-cost and accurate equipments. These equipments included goniometer, tape, metal meter, caliper and spreading caliper, and graded papers installed on the wall at a 90 degree angle to measure the depth, width, circumference and length. A swivel chair with adjustable height and a digital scale were also used (10). The anthropometric chamber was calibrated at each installation. The used balanced weight was calibrated every day and after a few samplings, was set again. In addition to collecting data on anthropometry, a questionnaire regarding occupational and nonoccupational histories and harmful factors of the work environment was given to the participants. A measurement protocol was provided for those who helped in this research project.

The procedure, body landmark recognition, and anatomical positioning were taught in a training program. The Labeling landmarks before taking the measurements were labeled, which are explained below (16). For instance, the upper arm length was measured from the acromial process to the tip of the elbow. Each part of a person was measured twice. The anthropometric definitions used in this study are summarized below (2):

1. Stature: The measured height, wearing working shoes.

2. Eye height: vertical distance from the level of eye to the floor when the person stands.

3. Shoulder height: vertical distance from the level of acromion to the floor.

4. Elbow height (flexed arm): vertical distance from the elbow of flexed arm to the floor.

5. Hip height: vertical distance from the highest iliac crest to the floor.

6. Knuckle height: vertical distance from the buttock fold to the floor.

7. Fingertip height: vertical distance from the tip of the longest finger to the floor.

8. Sitting height: vertical distance from the superior level of the head to the seat surface.

9. Sitting eye height: vertical distance from the level of eye to the seat surface.

10 .Sitting shoulder height: sitting vertical distance from the level of acromion to the floor.

11. Sitting elbow height: vertical distance from the inferior side of the elbow to the seat surface with flexed arm.

12. Thigh thickness: holding the zero end of the tape in the examiner's right hand, placing the measuring tape around the mid-thigh.

13. Buttock knee length: sitting horizontal distance from the posterior aspect of the buttock to the anterior aspect of the kneecap.

14 Buttock to popliteal length: sitting horizontal distance from the posterior aspect of the buttock to the popliteal area.

15. Knee height: vertical distance from the level of the patella to the floor.

16. Popliteal height: sitting vertical distance from the popliteal area to the floor with bent knees and ankles at right angles.

17. Shoulder breadth (bi-deltoid): horizontal distance between the right and left deltoid muscles.

18. Shoulder breadth (bi-acromial): horizontal distance between the right and left biacromial process.

19. Hip breadth: maximum horizontal distance across the hip.

20. Chest depth: maximum horizontal distance across chest from the Louis angle of sternum to the thoracic vertebrae.

21. Abdominal depth: depth of the abdomen measured at the level of belly button.

22. Shoulder elbow length: vertical distance from the acromion to the bottom of elbow.

23. Elbow fingertip length: the distance from the posterior part of elbow to the tip of the longest finger with the elbow flexed at a 90 degree angle.

24. Upper limb length: the length from the acromion process to the fingertips.

25. Shoulder grip length: the length from the acromion process to the metacarpophalangeal joints (MP).

26. Head length: vertical distance from the superior to the inferior aspect of the skull.

27. Head breadth: horizontal distance between the right and left zaygomatic arch.

28. Hand length: maximum perpendicular hand length.

29. Hand breadth: horizontal distance between right and left metacarpophalangeal joints.

30. Food length: distance between the two points of heel and toe.

31. Food breath: horizontal distance between the right and left points of the metacarpophalangeal joints.

32. Span: distance between two points of the tip of fingers when the upper limb is in 90 degree abduction.

33. Elbow span: distance between the elbow joints when the joint is in flexion position.

34. Vertical grip reach (standing): extending arm to the maximum vertical reach while standing.

35. Vertical grip reach (sitting): extending arm to the maximum vertical reach while sitting.

36. Forward grip reach: extending arm to the maximum horizontal reach while sitting.

37. Body weight: weighed in kilograms, using a digital weight scale.

Kroemer and colleagues categorized the physical status of the community into three groups. Changes in the stature are divided into three groups

(I) Growing period: before 20;

(II) Stable period: 21 - 40;

(III) Declining period: After 41 (Figure 4) (1).

The samples in this study were 20 - 60 years and thus were at stages II and III (Figure 4). After collecting the anthropometric data, they were encoded using Microsoft Word and SPSS 13. The statistical analyses were descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics were summarized in terms of mean, standard deviation, and percentile value. Normality of data distribution was examined and outliers were omitted. Statistical parameters were computed from the male and female population as well as the total population using SPSS software.

Figure 4. Relation Between Physical Condition and Age
4. Results

Most office employees are above 20 and the retirement age in Iran is about 55 - 60, hence the participants' age range was chosen as 20 - 60 with an average of 38. Samples were randomly chosen. From the total population of 1,600,1052 (65.7%) were females and 548 (34.2%) were males. All subjects wore ordinary clothing and no shoes during the measurements.

Among the participants, 42.8%were high school graduates and 2.4% illiterate. Table 1 describes work experiences of the participants. Most of the workers (34.7%) had less than 5 years of experience and 8.1% had more than 20 years of experience. Anthropometric data of the both sexes (including the 5 and 95 percentiles) are shown in Tables 2 and 3.

Table 1. Illustration of the Frequency Distribution of the Participants’ Work Experiences
Work ExperienceFrequency (%)
5 >556 (34.7)
5 - 9383 (23.9)
10 - 14280 (17.5)
15 - 19250 (15)
20 <131 (8.1)
Total1600 (99.8)
Table 2. Anthropometric Data for Iranian Females
Anthropometric measurement aFemale, n = 1031
Mean ± SD5th percentile95th percentile
Stature158 ± 314816
Eye height146 ± 6137158
Shoulder height131 ± 8124135
Elbow height96 ± 699105
Hip height78 ± 47083
Knuckle height63 ± 55875
Fingertipheight60 ± 45367
Sitting height81 ± 47189
Sitting eye height75 ± 56489
Sitting shoulder height59 ± 45161
Sitting elbow height22 ± 41628
Thigh thickness14 ± 41019
Buttock-knee length56 ± 95161
Buttock-popliteal length45 ± 83950
Knee height48 ± 34153
Popliteal height41 ± 33550
Shoulder breadth, bideltoid42 ± 13647
Shoulder breadth. Biacromial27 ± 43441
Hip breadth34 ± 23039
Chest depth25 ± 11936
Abdominal depth29 ± 12337
Shoulder-elbow length36 ± 53141
Elbow-fingertip length39 ± 24447
Upper limb length72 ± 46679
Shoulder-grip length53 ± 46269
Head length17 ± 51619
Head breadth12 ± 21314
Hand length16 ± 31919
Hand breadth6 ± 278
Foot length23 ± 12125
Foot breadth7 ± 189
Span156± 2141170
Elbow span60 ± 44578
Vertical grip reach (standing)190 ± 6178202
Vertical grip reach (sitting)114 ± 1106123
Forward grip reach62 ± 56878
Body weight58 ± 35265

aall dimensions are in cm, body weight in kg.

Table 3. Anthropometric Data for Iranian Males
Anthropometric Measurement aMale, n = 568
Mean ± SD5th95th
Stature173 ± 8160184
Eye height162 ± 8148173
Shoulder height145 ± 7130156
Elbow height110 ± 698118
Hip height88 ± 38097
Knuckle height73 ± 46583
Fingertip height65 ± 35861
Sitting height92 ± 282101
Sitting eye height83 ± 5759
Sitting shoulder height63 ± 1557
Sitting elbow height27 ± 42135
Thigh thickness13 ± 21017
Buttock-knee length59 ± 35464
Buttock-popliteal length47 ± 2415
Knee height53 ± 74660
Popliteal height43 ± 83849
Shoulder breadth, bideltoid45 ± 23853
Shoulder breadth, biacromial32 ± 53843
Hip breadth35 ± 33040
Chest depth21 ± 11827
Abdominal depth25 ± 22032
Shoulder-elbow length38 ± 53345
Elbow-fingertip length41 ± 54856
Upper limb length81 ± 47389
Shoulder grip length60 ± 56875
Head length18 ± 11719
Head breadth13 ± 11415
Hand length 20 ± 11921
Hand breadth7 ± 189
Foot length27 ± 12429
Foot breadth7 ± 1910
Span175± 10159189
Elbow span70 ± 86576
Vertical grip reach standing210 ± 5191228
Vertical grip reach (sitting)130 ± 3115142
Forward grip reach70 ± 87897
Body weight73 ± 96369

aall dimensions are in cm, body weight in kg.

Tables 2 and 3 show the anthropometric measurements of the workers. It shows that the mean standing height for males was higher than that of females (173 cm and 158 cm, respectively).The mean sitting height was 92 cm for males and 81 cm for females and knee height was 53 cm for males and 48cm for females. Popliteal height was 43 cm for males, and 41 cm for females. The average weight was 77 kg for males and 59 kg for females.

In our study, some common problems were noted among the respondents. The top five hazards identified were poor posture leading to backache (72.2%), heat (66.6%), overwork (66.6%), poor ventilation (54.8%), and chemical exposure (50.8%). Among physical and psychomotor stresses, the top three were visual strain, overtime work, and high work burden. The most common illnesses related to ergonomic problems were backache (56%), and fatigue and weakness (53.2%). Cuts (46.8%) were on top of the list of common injuries, followed by slipping injuries (23.2%).

5. Discussion

Human environment should be designed free of pressure and stress. The main problem for an ideal design is the physical differences between subjects (9). Human physical dimensions must be considered in the design of workplaces, tools, and equipment. Anthropometry and ergonomics help to enhance the physical health in the workplaces (17). If anthropometric data is not applied in designing a product, it may lead to waste of a variety of resources including human and financial resources, and time (8, 18).

Various factors such as nutrition, ecology, race, age, and gender affect the human body dimensions too. Therefore, the data from the anthropometric studies of a region cannot be generalized to otherareas. Given the geographic size of a country such as Iran, we cannot ignore the ethnic, racial, and climate differences. Comparing the current and past similar data obtained in 2007 by Joneidi et al. their study included 3716 Iranian workers aged 20 - 60. Their research was performed on six different races in Iran, but the ethnicity of Bandar Abbas workers was considered as Persian in their study (13). Morphological characteristics among Iranian people are not the same at all.

Our results indicated that there were great differences in anthropometric data between two genders. The average difference was about 15 cm in height in the standing position. Differences in other dimensions were also significant (P < 0.005). The average height of Iranian female workers was 158 cm compared with that of Filipino women which was153 cm. In a study by Lin et al. the mean height of women were 157, 157, 156, and 158 cm in Taiwan, China, Japan, and Korea, respectively (19). Moreover, the mean height of men was 167, 169, 169, 167, and 171 cm in Philippine, Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea, respectively. Compared to those results, Iranian men are taller than other Asian men. The result of WsMarms and co-workers’ research also showed that the average height in the mid-western United States population was 174 cm (4, 19).

Physical differences must be considered in designing and post production evaluation of equipment, not applied as a benchmark in the future. The apparel industry can be considered as a very dramatic phenomenon due to changes in the size of the human body dimensions. For example, the current small (S), medium (M), and large (L) sizes could for mass production in the future; these will certainly evolve (4).

No significant correlation was found between the educational level and anthropometric dimensions and more studies are recommended(r = -0.80). In the case of certain occupational groups such as police and military jobs and their crew, there is a limitation for height. In some cases, the choice category leads to selection of people who are physically fit for a particular profession. However, more detailed studied are required in this field.

People encounter a variety of equipments and environments in their daily lives. Mismatch and incongruence between the external environment and the physical characteristics of individuals can cause complications. As a result, differences in body size should be considered in designing the workplaces and designers must work on the requirements based on the users' anatomical, physiological, and anthropometric characteristics. However, this study is far from complete. The time and resource constraints were limiting factors. Further research and the collection of more data are necessary.

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