Comparisons between DLW and calorimetry suggest a precision of 4 or 5%, but it should be remembered that studies of this type are highly controlled and may not properly reflect the real-life situation to which the method is intended to apply. The closest useful estimates are therefore perhaps those provided by an analysis of test/retest situations in which the same subjects were measured in more or less the same physiological conditions. Figure 5 shows a compilation of such data. Apart from the labourers studied in the tropics, where the precision of the estimates may have been limited by known high water turnover rates, the data are quite consistent, with a mean of 8%. Subtraction of a likely contribution of 4% from total measurement error suggests a within-subject variation of 7%.
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