Body Fat Calculators
How to Measure Body Fat, Skinfold Calipers, Hydrostatic Weighing, Body Fat Scales

Diet Home - Body Fat Weight & Health - Body Mass Index - Obesity
Reduce Fat Thighs - Fat-Loss Program

How to Calculate Body Fat
Which Body Fat Calculators Are Best

There are three main ways to calculate body fat:

  • Home Body Fat Scales
  • Skinfold Calipers (Callipers)
  • Hydrostatic Weighing

Each of these body fat calculation methods has advantages and disadvantages.

Using Home Body Fat Scales to Measure Body Fat

Body fat scales claim to measure body fat quickly and conveniently. These body fat scales use the Bioelectrical Impedance method to measure your body fat percentage. A low-level electrical current is passed through your body and the "impedance", or opposition to the flow of current, is measured. The result is used in conjunction with your weight and other factors to determine your body fat percentage. Unfortunately, your body's "impedance level" can be altered by many factors besides body fat. For instance, the amount of water in your body, your skin temperature and recent physical activity can all adversely affect the results.So only by following strict rules can you hope to get an accurate measurement of your body fat using these scales. The most important rules to observe in order to make a more accurate calculation of your body fat are:

  • Don't eat or drink for 4 hours before the body fat measurement test.
  • Don't exercise for 12 hours before the test.

Notes:

  • Some studies have shown variances as high as 8 percent when using the bioelectrical impedance method even if the rules are precisely followed.
  • As with skinfold calipers (see below) there are different equations used to calculate body fat from your body density. These are usually pre-programmed into the machine.
  • The best body fat scales tend to made by Tanita.

Using Skinfold Calipers (Callipers) to Measure Body Fat Skinfold Measurements

Measuring body fat with a set of body fat calipers is the most cost effective way to determine fat levels. But it's important to use them correctly. For instance, either have a professional take the measurements for you or buy a set of Accumeasure calipers (callipers) and follow the measuring instructions. Accumeasure are the only calipers than allow you to test yourself and most studies have shown that they are very accurate.

Using Hydrostatic Weighing to Measure Body Fat

Hydrostatic weighing (underwater weighing) is the most accurate way to calculate body fat - that is, if you can find a hydrostatic weighing tank.

How does hydrostatic weighing calculate body fat? By using Archimedes Principle. Your examiner first calculates your body density by measuring the amount of water you displace when you immerse yourself in water. Then a formula is used to calculate body fat based on your body density. The problem is finding a facility (University, major gym or fitness center) which has a hydrostatic weighing tank!!

Table 1. Body Fat Guidelines from American Council on Exercise

Classification Women (% Fat) Men (% Fat)
Essential Fat 10-12 percent 2-4 percent
Athletes 14-20 percent 6-13 percent
Fitness 21-24 percent 14-17 percent
Acceptable 25-31 percent 18-25 percent

Why Body Fat Measurement is Important

Body fat is an important element in successful weight control. Body fat requires fewer calories than muscle. So the less fat/more muscle we have, the more calories we can eat before gaining weight. Body fat is often expressed as our "Body Fat Percentage" or "Body Fat Percent." Body fat percentage is the amount of body-fat-tissue as a percentage of total body weight. If your total body weight is 160 pounds and you have 32 pounds of fat, your body fat percentage is 20 percent.

Body Fat Calculation and Health

The higher your percentage of fat above average levels, the higher your health risk for weight-related illness, like heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. Also, the higher your percentage of fat (and the smaller your percentage of muscle) the less calories you need to maintain your weight and therefore the easier it is to gain weight. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue.

For a concise explanation of how ALL surplus calories (from fats, protein AND carbs) are converted to body fat and stored as adipose tissue, see How We Gain Body Fat?

Return to Diet Home


 

OBESITY, OVERWEIGHT and HEALTH
Weight Loss Help | Healthy Weight Advice | Health Risks of Obesity | Body Mass Index Chart | Obesity Information
Weight & Health Risks | Ideal Weight for Women | Ideal Weight for Men | Waist Circumference | Body Fat Percent
Body Fat & Health | Body Fat Calculators | Reduce Fat Belly | Obesity & Breast Cancer | What Causes Weight Gain
Hypothyroidism | Weight Loss Plateau | Healthy Cholesterol Level | How to Lower Cholesterol | Low Cholesterol Diet
Diabetes Diet | Diabetic Diet Questions | Eating Disorders | Food Cravings | Health & Weight Benefits of Exercise
WEIGHT CONTROL
Weight Loss Tips | Best Support Group | Easy Ways to Lose Weight | Lose Last 10 Pounds | Nutrition and Pregnancy
Lose Weight After Pregnancy | Weight Loss - Pregnancy | Mid-Life Weight Gain | Weight Control in Menopause
Menopause & Diet | Weight and Depression | Teen Weight Loss & Healthy Eating | Help For Overweight Children
Child Obesity | Weight Chart For Children | Weight Loss For Men | Fast Weight Loss | Raise Metabolism
Best Exercise to Burn Calories | Exercise and Calories Burned | Diet Pills | Weight Loss Drugs to Reduce Obesity
Bariatric Surgery | Gastrointestinal Surgery | Health Dangers of Bariatric Surgery | Health Dangers of Gastric Bypass
Weight Loss Programs | Articles | Weight Loss Questions | How to Reduce Weight | Weight Loss Advice
DIETING and DIETARY ADVICE
Healthy Diet Advice | Healthy Diets For Women | Reviews of Diets | Diet News | Fad Diets | Cabbage Soup Diet
Weight Watchers Diet | Low Fat Diet | Carbs and Diet | Dr Atkins Diet | South Beach Diet | Zone | Cider Vinegar Diet
Carbs Guide | Carbs & Blood Sugar | Carbs & Insulin | Carbohydrate Needs | Glycemic Index Guide | GI Diet Method
Low GI Foods | Glycemic Load | Diets For Health | Diet & Health | Diet For High Blood Pressure | Fibromyalgia Diet
Gluten-Free Diet | Irritable Bowel (IBS) Diet | Lactose-Free Diet | Best PCOS Diet | PMS Diet | Online Diet Plans
ENERGY and NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Food Digestion | Calories Index | Guide to Calorie Needs | Calorie Needs for Women | Calories & Weight Loss
Burn Calories and Lose Weight | Calories Used by Exercise | Calorie Savings | Diet Nutrition | Vegetarian Nutrition
Guide to Healthy Diet | Guide to Healthy Eating | Diet Foods | Diet Fat | Good Fat | Protein in Diet | Protein Needs
Good Protein | Good Carbs | Dietary Fiber Guide | Sodium in Diet | Dietary Sugar | Water Needs

© 2000-2014 Anne Collins - All rights reserved.