Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Defying geometric similarity: shape centralization in male UK offshore workers.

Stewart, Arthur D.; Ledingham, Robert J.; Furnace, Graham; Williams, Hector; Nevill, Alan M.


Arthur D. Stewart

Robert J. Ledingham

Graham Furnace

Hector Williams

Alan M. Nevill


Objectives - Applying geometric similarity predictions of body dimensions to specific occupational groups has the potential to reveal useful ergonomic and health implications. This study assessed a representative sample of the male UK offshore workforce, and examined how body dimensions from sites typifying musculoskeletal development or fat accumulation, differed from predicted values. Methods - A cross sectional sample was obtained across seven weight categories using quota sampling, to match the wider workforce. In total, 588 UK offshore workers, 84 from each of seven weight categories, were measured for stature, mass and underwent 3D body scans which yielded 22 dimensional measurements. Each measurement was modeled using a body-mass power law (adjusting for age), to derive its exponent, which was compared against that predicted from geometric similarity. Results - Mass scaled to stature 1.73 (CI: 1.44-2.02). Arm and leg volume increased by mass0.8, and torso volume increased by mass1.1 in contrast to mass 1.0 predicted by geometric similarity. Neck girth increased by mass 0.33 as expected, while torso girth and depth dimensions increased by mass0.53-0.72, all substantially greater than assumed by geometric similarity. Conclusions - After controlling for age, offshore workers experience spectacular 'super-centralization' of body shape, with greatest gains in abdominal depth and girth dimensions in areas of fat accumulation, and relative dimensional loss in limbs. These findings are consistent with the antecedents of sarcopenic obesity, and should be flagged as a health concern for this workforce, and for future targeted research and lifestyle interventions.


STEWART, A.D., LEDINGHAM, R.J., FURNACE, G., WILLIAMS, H. and NEVILL, A.M. 2016. Defying geometric similarity: shape centralization in male UK offshore workers. American journal of human biology [online], 29(3), e22935. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 5, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 1, 2016
Publication Date May 15, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2017
Journal American journal of human biology
Print ISSN 1042-0533
Electronic ISSN 1520-6300
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 3
Article Number e22935
Keywords 3D scanning; Geometric similarity; Obesity; Offshore workers
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations