Body Fat Calculator
Calculating Body Fat Percentages
Body fat does serve a purpose. Our bodies put away fat, taken from the foods we ingest. Fat gets stored in deposits for use in protection, energy, and insulation. We all need fat to function and stay alive.
Unfortunately, we can store too much fat. When it accumulates, it can lead to a series of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Depending on our metabolism, we often can’t tell if we’re storing too much fat. So, it’ll never be as easy as stepping on a scale or finding a mirror. You can have an overweight individual or a seasoned bodybuilder who weigh the same, but they will have different percentages of body fat.
Not everyone who carries unnecessary body fat develops health problems. But you increase the possibility. And weight alone is not the only indicator of fat to muscle ratio.
What follows are various methods for calculating body fat percentages.
1. Tape Measure
Take all measurements two times before averaging them. Record final numbers to the nearest half-inch. If your numbers do not match, do it again. If you go to Amazon, you can find measuring tape designed specifically to target body fat.
While there are different methods for men, women, and children, the first thing you need to know is the person’s height.
- Take all measurements two times before averaging them. Record final numbers to the nearest half-inch. If your numbers do not match, do it again.
- When you place tape on the skin, it should not compress the surface in any way.
- Consider using this standardized online body fat calculator to get your estimate. It also offers a ton of information about the process.
Start with your neck and abdomen circumference. In each case, measure the largest part of each area. If you have someone who can help, let them do the measuring for you. To get your body fat percentage, use the following formula:
Abdomen value – neck value = Circumference
Again, if a family or friend can help, ask them to. Record the circumference of your neck, hips, and natural waist. As with the man, measure the widest part of each area. To get the final percentage for body fat, use this formula.
(Waist + Hip Measurement) – Neck Measurement = Circumference
Even the most meticulous measuring and accurate online calculator will not necessarily return accurate results. There will always be room for error. What you’ve eaten recently, clothing, and even the way you pull the tape can affect results.
You use calipers to perform a skin-fold test. You pinch different areas of the body to calculate your percentage. The most common use of calipers was originally developed by the research team Pollock and Jackson in the 1980s. It’s a three-site approach. The method is quick.
You can find an effective pair of calipers at an affordable price. Here is how to use them.
For the male, measure the fat at the chest, thigh, and abdominals.
The woman needs to measure body fat at the suprailiac (located an inch above the hip bone), triceps, and thighs.
- Calipers may come with instructions for converting numbers to body fat percentages.
- Consider asking someone to do the measuring.
- Use the caliper on only one side of the body for consistency.
- Again, take measurements at least two times to ensure accuracy.
- Use the aforementioned calculator as a skinfold calculator as well.
There is an error rate of plus or minus three percent. You can use calipers for a seven-site measurement. It takes more time but may give more accurate results. If you’re a member of a gym, you can get a trainer to do the percentages for you. That service is frequently offered with a fitness evaluation.
The impact of age, sex, race, and age on estimating percentage body fat is often referred to as the heritage BMI.
The term refers to a child’s size and weight as inherited from their parents. For obese children, a study by the University of Sussex says, more than half lean towards excessive weight due to genetics or environment.
The study also reveals a child’s BMI can be drastically influenced by their parents. Children of excessively heavy parents tend to grow up obese.
There is a set of criteria doctors use to determine a child’s obesity percentile.
- If the child has a BMI percentile between the 85th and 94th percentile, they are overweight.
- If the percentile is between 95 or higher, they suffer from obesity.
- If 99 or higher, the child is severely obese.
Unlike adults, a child’s BMI will not take into account musculature or body frames. Growth patterns vary too much between children, so doctors look at development and growth.
The physician will also look at:
- The family’s history of weight-related problems, like heart disease and diabetes, and obesity
- The child’s eating habits and activity levels
- Other health issues
- Incidences of sleep disturbances, depression, and sadness
- Whether there are psychological issues like feelings of isolation or bullying
Here are two other categories of body fat.
We define lean body mass as the difference between body fat weight and total body weight. It is the mass of all organs, excluding body fat but involving muscles, bones, skin, blood, and all other considerations.
The LBM percentage has average ranges of 60–90% of total body weight. Men, in general, have a higher proportion of LBM.
Some anesthetic agents, particularly water-soluble agents, are regularly based on LBM. Some medical examinations use LBM values to help develop diagnoses.
Fat-free body mass entails internal organs, bone, water, muscle, and connective tissues. FBM has a role in energy intake.
We use different methods to estimate composition for a ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass. While you cannot do much to significantly alter your fat-free mass, you want to protect these elements through a healthy lifestyle. Manage a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise will help.
Healthy Ranges of Body Fat
Necessary body fat is a level found in most parts of the human body. This fat maintains healthy life and reproductive functions.
While excess fat can be detrimental, levels of insufficiency can too.
The American Council on Exercise offers a body fat chart that doesn’t factor in age but categories affected by lifestyle.
Greater than 32%
To augment these findings, Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital offers this breakdown for healthy body fat percentages in women.
Greater than 25%
Beth Israel Laheyl offers this breakdown for healthy body fat percentages in men.
The best ways to manage body fat are with healthy exercise and a sound diet. But before beginning any program, talk with your doctor. They will help determine body fat percentages and what kind of regimen you need.
Be sure to include appropriate protein to encourage lean mass development. In no time, you will be measuring your body fat percentages and surprise yourself with improved fat-free mass, stronger muscle, decreased fat, better body composition, and lower fat percentages.
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