Why Knowing Your Body Fat Percentage is Important

measuring-body-fat-percentageEven if we put aside that body fat percentage is an indication of obesity, it is still a good indicator of overall disease risk exposure.

Therefore, measuring body fat percentage is important for your health

So what is the ideal body fat percentage? Experts recommend that your body fat should range between 10% to 25%.[1]

How to Measure Body Fat

Mainly two methods are used for measuring body fat. One is where the physician uses a measurement tool called calipers by holding a portion of skin in it.

Then he performs some calculations and arrive at a body fat percentage. This measure is not very accurate because it depends on manual measurements.

The other method uses a bioelectrical impedance analysis. In this method, a weak electric current passes through the body and because fat conducts electricity differently from flesh and water in the body, therefore, it is possible to calculate body fat percentage from this method.

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However, the accuracy of this method also decreases when there is a lot of abdominal fat. The amount of hydration in the body also affects the measurements.

Using BMI for Measuring Body Fat Percentage

The most common method that is used for measuring body fat percentage is indirect that involves calculation of body mass index (BMI). You can also calculate your body mass index by taking your weight in pounds, dividing it by inches and taking the square.

After that you multiply the result by 703 and you arrive at your BMI. An easier way is to use this BMI Calculator.

From the calculated BMI, you can calculate your body fat percentage by using this formula:

Body Fat Percentage % = (1.20 × BMI) + (0.23 × Age) − (10.8 × sex) − 5.4

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Replace sex with 0 for females and 1 for males.

BMI itself is also a good indicator of obesity. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 will categorize you as overweight. And if you have a BMI higher than 30 then you are in the obese range.

Waist Size is Also Important

Another good way to know if you are overweight are not is by measuring your waist circumference. According to Harvard obesity guidelines, a waist size of 35 or higher for women is considered obese. In case of men, a waist size of 40 or higher will be obese.

Under normal circumstances you need not know your body fat percentage. Your waist size and BMI are good measurements to keep track of your obesity and abdominal obesity.

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