ANSUR vs. ANSUR 2: What Was Different and What Was the Same

Dec 11th, 2017

Since being founded in 1950, we have completed numerous projects for the U.S. military and government branches. Today, we want to share details about two of the survey projects commissioned by the U.S Army. We completed the first – ANSUR (which is short for Anthropometric Survey) – in 1988. In the years since the original ANSUR survey was completed, times had definitely changed. Obesity had become more of an epidemic in the U.S. and abroad. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1990, among U.S. states participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 10 states had a prevalence of obesity less than 10 percent and no states had prevalence equal to or greater than 15 percent. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent. Thirty-six states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25 percent.

The Need for Another Survey

In the face of the civilian changes, in 2007 Army leaders reached out to Anthrotech again because they believed significant body changes had also occurred in military members since the completion of ANSUR. We launched a pilot study to assess the need for another survey. We measured more than 3,400 soldiers and found that measurements had in fact changed significantly enough to warrant a more in-depth survey.

While increased obesity rates among the civilian population were proven, the effect of the weight change on body segment sizes was widely unknown. The pilot study showed that the Army had changed in size and shape, but a new survey was needed to detail the extent of the differences.

ANSUR 2: Project Details and Results

For ANSUR 2, we had a broader sampling strategy than we did for ANSUR, and that included adding participants from the National Guard. We measured 93 different dimensions and derived 41 additional dimensions based on the initial measurements. In addition to taking these measurements, we produced three-dimensional head, foot and whole-body scans for the Army’s subsequent use. A total of 8,120 men and 3,841 women were measured between October 2010 and April 2012 for this project. Measuring took place in 12 locations.

The Differences

There were some fairly substantial changes in the data from ANSUR vs. ANSUR 2. Measurements related to stature and height were pretty much unchanged, but weight, circumferences and breadths had all increased for both men and women. In addition, the amount of variation in those circumferences and breadths had increased. This means that the ranges for which clothing and protective gear are designed had substantially increased. The table below showcases the specific findings.

ANSUR vs ANSUR 2 table

Sampling a population at only two points in time does not allow for firm predictions about future changes. However, the rate of obesity increase in U.S. civilians has slowed, and we may expect to see that the rate of change in the Army has slowed as well.

If you have any interest in learning more about the findings of either ANSUR or ANSUR 2, contact us today!

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