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The Body Fat Guide - How to use Body Fat Testers and how your Body Fat Equation affects you

Updated on July 5, 2009

Body Fat - How it affects your life and well being.

If you would like to learn about how to measure excess body fat and how it affects your life, then read this article all the way to the end. Specifically, we'll discuss five ways to measure excess fat and what those results mean to your health. After you're done with this article you will know what you need to do to find your percentage of body fat.

Health Problems associated with a bad BMI

More people than ever are concerned about losing body fat. And no wonder! Excess body fat is linked to degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, among others. Let’s not forget how excess body fat wreaks havoc on your self-esteem and activity level.

There are two kinds of body fat—essential and storage fats. Essential fat is stored throughout the body in bone marrow, muscles, and in the vital organs. The normal level of essential fat is approximately 3% in men and 12% in women. Women have more essential fat because of gender-specific body parts such as breasts, thighs, hips and pelvis.

When you have excess fat in your body, it is usually storage fat that protects the vital organs from trauma and is located in the muscles. Storage fat should be the same percentages as essential fats. The higher the percentage of accumulated storage fat, the higher the risk of developing health problems.

There are several ways to measure body fat in order to determine the percentage of excess storage fat and therefore, health risks.

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Body Fat Equations Broken Down

A popular way to measure body fat is the BMI (Body Mass Index). This method is a calculation that doesn’t need a measuring instrument, just a calculator. All you have to know is your height (in inches) and your body weight.

BMI = weight (in pounds)

height (in inches)

For example, a woman who weighs 135 pounds with a height of 5’7” (67 inches) has a BMI of 21. The chart below indicates where you are according to your BMI.

18.5 – 24.9 normal

25.0 – 29.9 overweight

30.0 + obese

Many health care professionals do not recommend the BMI method of measuring body fat. It is unreliable in determining excess body fat because it doesn’t take into account that a body builder who is more muscle than fat could have the same BMI calculation as someone who is overweight.

Another method to add to the BMI to get a more accurate measurement is your waist measurement. A waist measurement of more than 40 inches for men and over 35 inches for women indicates increased risk for disease.

There are several tools available that are considered to be more accurate than the BMI.

A body fat analyzer operates by sending an electrical charge from one end of the body to the other. These analyzers come in two varieties—hand-held and a scale to stand on. These digital analyzers give you your results in seconds.

Also available is the skin caliper. This instrument measure the thickness of skin folds located all over the body. You will need the help of a physical trainer or someone else trained in taking the measurements.

A hydrostatic weighing tank is considered to be the most accurate of the body fat measurement tools. It is not the easiest method because you must be immersed in the tank with water over your head, so you’ll need to hold your breath under water. You’ll also need to find a doctor or physical trainer who has the equipment.

As you can see learning where you are in your excess body fat measurement can help you know what risks you taking in your health. We discussed several ways to measure excess body fat so you can begin to reduce the fat to gain optimum health and fitness.


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      khushi 6 years ago

      Its was very interesting to read this web page!never knew there are so many simple things that we have been knowing about but never thought of!

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      khadija 6 years ago

      i dont like