Let's say that you took the measurement of how thick a person's torso is; specifically, by measuring between the following two points:

  • the skin on their chest, slightly above the navel


  • the skin on their back, just outside the spine

This is NOT a measurement of hip or waist circumference, or of how wide across someone is at the hip or the waist Basically, imagine making a measurement between the points indicated in the two circles below.

image hurr durr

This measurement provides a rough way to extract hip circumference from hip diameter, since a cross-section of the human trunk/torso region can be approximated as an ellipse.

Google gets plenty of studies on how thick certain organs are, or how wide a person is across the hips, but none about this specific bodily dimension.

I Googled "front-to-back width", "torso thickness", "how thick is the human body", etc., and also tried to figure this out via adding up the depth of the abdominal cavity, the diameter of the spine, the thickness of the skin, etc.

Is there a medical or clinical term for this type of measurement?

  • Your question asks for the name of such a measurement. Is that really what you're asking for or are you asking how to measure it?
    – Carey Gregory
    Dec 2, 2021 at 6:11
  • @CareyGregory I'm asking for the name of such a measurement. I know how to measure it, and it takes four steps. First, you find the height on the torso at which you want to take the measurement. Second, you take the cross-ways width at that point - i.e. from rib to rib, or love handle to love handle. Third, you take the circumference at that height. Fourth, you plug all that into one of these equations: mathsisfun.com/geometry/ellipse-perimeter.html
    Dec 2, 2021 at 6:56
  • It's the circumference that's usually measured as "(abodminal) girth". This is in fact the medical term. Not sure why you'd want to measure it the way you propose.
    – Fizz
    Dec 2, 2021 at 19:30
  • @Fizz No, that's the distance around the abdomen. This is the distance through the abdomen.
    Dec 2, 2021 at 19:41
  • 1
    I understand what you're asking, I don't understand why you presuppose that what you're asking for has medical relevance, so that a medical term for it should exist.
    – Fizz
    Dec 2, 2021 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


Sagital abdominal diameter is measured:

after a normal expiration while in the supine position with bent knees on a firm examination table and without clothes in the measurement area (Fig. 1)... at the level of iliac crest ... as the distance between the examination table up to the horizontal level, allowing the caliper arm to touch the abdomen slightly but without compression.

Figure 1 from Risérus et al:


This is different than the measurement you are proposing, but in general measures the front to back diameter of the abdomen. It has been previously used to estimate visceral fat content.

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