Body Fat %
Author: Kristina Magathova Date Posted:20 January 2016
We all know our weight, even though we may not like it, and we also know our height. Weight and height are easy to measure. But what about fat? How do we measure body fat? We should be interested in knowing how much body fat we have in our body and how much it adds to our weight when we step on the scale. Body fat percentage is the total mass of fat divided by your total body mass.
To achieve a permanent reduction in your weight, you should focus on reducing body fat percentage.
With extreme diets, initial weight loss is very rapid. This includes loss of fat but also water and muscle. Once you start eating salty food, the proportion of water in your body will be restored. However not muscles.
The fat stored in our body is not placed in one place. Therefore, it can not be easily measured. It is distributed under the skin in layers of varying thickness, which is difficult to estimate. To achieve a permanent reduction in your weight, you should focus on reducing body fat percentage.
Healthy body fat percentages vary greatly depending on your age, gender and body type (shape).
How to Measure it?
Measuring body fat is a bit complicated. Even harder is to monitor it. That’s why most people just estimate the percentage of fat in their body but they are miles away from the truth.
There are a few method of measuring Body Fat.
- Caliper - The “skin fold” method measures your body fat percentage by pinching your fat with your fingers then measuring the thickness with a body fat caliper. The reading is given in millimetres, which you compare to a chart with age and gender to arrive at your body fat percentage.
- Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) - determines the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through the body. Muscle has high water content, and is highly conductive, while fat has lower water content and is not highly conductive. Based on the strength of the impedance along with height and weight metrics, the BIA scale will estimate fat-free body mass and body fat percentage.
- Anthropometric - This method uses body circumference measurements to estimate body fat percentages.
- Hydrostatic Weighing - This method is considered the “Gold Standard” (+/- 1.5% error) of body fat measurement that requires being submerged in a specialized tank of water.
- DEXA Scan - DEXA also allows for body fat distribution analysis, so you can figure out with precision how fat is distributed in various parts of your body. In the past, DEXA was only used to measure bone mineral density for osteopenia and osteoporosis in older individuals.
Different gender - Different age - Different fat percentage
Men who are between 20-40 years old with under 8% body fat are considered “underfat”, whereas a “healthy” range is described as between 8-19%. For women in this same age group, any level under 21% is “underfat” and 21-33% is considered “healthy”.
In terms of body fat, women are generally healthier than men - this is because body fat is required for a successful and healthy pregnancy.
You can download Body Fat Chart that splits body fat % by men and women (according their age). The chart is great for using with Bioelectric Impedance Analysis.
The best ways to keep fit and healthy are a good diet and lots of activity.
Good luck everyone.