The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

A preliminary study on the relationship between age-at-death, BMI and age-at-death estimations using pelvic indicators


Anthropology, Texas State niversity

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Obesity in America affects 34 million people. It is important to understand how BMI affects the skeleton and how it may alter age-at-death estimations in a medico-legal setting. Related biomechanical and load-bearing changes in the hips may lead to unreliable age-at-death estimations. Three questions were addressed: 1. How does BMI affect the inaccuracy of age-at-death estimations of the pelvis? 2. Is the inaccuracy of ADBOU 2.1 similarly affected by age-at-death and BMI? And 3. Are age-at-death estimations using the pubic symphysis and auricular surface similarly affected by BMI?

33 individuals were randomly sampled from the Texas State Donated Skeletal Collection including 2 underweight, 13 normal, 9 overweight and 9 obese individuals. Using ADBOU 2.1, age-at-death estimations were compared to recorded ages.

A Pearson’s correlation test was run to test the associations between estimation inaccuracy from the pubic symphysis and auricular surface separately with BMI and age-at-death. The results show the auricular surface to be more affected by BMI than the pubic symphysis. The ages of younger individuals in this study were overestimated and underestimated for the older ones. Due to the small sample size, younger ages were underrepresented. Lastly, the ages for underweight and obese samples were overestimated on average. This effect should be taken into account when estimating the biological profile of an individual in a medico-legal setting.

Slides/Poster (pdf)