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New Technical Report Compares Body Measurements around the World

From squeezing long legs into cramped seating to standing on tip toes to reach something on the top shelf, many inconveniences result from having products and services that are not designed to fit the physical measurements of their target markets. A new technical report (TR) compiles average measurements of people from around the world, allowing a variety of industries to tailor products for the dimensions of the people who use them.

ISO/TR 7250-2:2010, Basic human body measurements for technological design - Part 2: Statistical summaries of body measurements from individual ISO populations, was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the second part of a series on body measurements. The TR seeks to identify physical variations in human body sizes and shapes around the world so that manufacturers can have a realistic view of today's population diversity, and optimize designs accordingly.

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Everything from the structure of homes and workplaces to clothing, transportation, and recreational activities can be tailored to match today's body sizes comfortably and safely according to the guidelines of the report. Variations in body sizes around the world are highlighted, with statistics on height, weight, leg and arm length, eye height, shoulder width, and more.

The TR aims to become a reference for the various ISO product standards, allowing for improved ergonomics across a variety of industries. It gathers anthropometric data by country, and will be updated as new statistics become available. The report currently includes Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Thailand, and the United States.

"We developed ISO/TR 7250-2 with the principle of ‘equity' in mind," says Dr. Makiko Kouchi, project leader for the TR. "More often than not, products are designed in a mass-production basis, which ignores human variation. The report will help manufacturers to better gear their products to their target customers, taking into account the considerable differences in body shapes and sizes that can exist. This will ensure that products respect the ergonomic needs of their populations, and that no size is ‘discriminated' no matter how big or small."

ISO/TR 7250-2 was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 159, Ergonomics, subcommittee (SC) 3, Anthropometry and biomechanics. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator of this TC and SC is the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society (HFES), an ANSI member.

For more information, see the ISO news release.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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