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A guide to performing a body fat calculation

Do you want to find out if the body fat that you are carrying is within the healthy range? Fortunately, there are many different methods which you can use to test body fat. To discover the easiest and cheapest ways to perform a body fat calculation, keep on reading.

Use BMI

BMI stands for body mass index and does not actually show a person’s body fat percentage. However, you can use it to predict an individual’s body fat. To find your BMI online, there are many tools that you can use such as BMI charts and BMI calculators. You can also use a BMI scale. The problem is that even if you have a normal BMI, there is no guarantee that your body fat percentage is actually low. There is a condition called “normal weight obesity” that describes people who have an excessive amount of body fat, even though, their weight is normal. These people may have exactly the same health risks as someone who is considered obese. A study conducted in 6,171 people found that up to 30 percent of people with normal weight have a dangerously high percentage of body fat, which can increase the risk of obesity-related diseases, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. As you can see, a BMI measurement is not enough to determine if your weight is healthy or not. However, there is a more advanced prediction formula that you can use: Body Fat % = (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x Age) - (10.8 x gender) - 5.4. It has been found that this formula gives valid estimates of body fat and the prediction error is comparable to that of other methods, such as bio-electrical impedance and skin fold thickness measurements.

Use fat calipers

Body fat calipers are probably one of the easiest and cheapest methods that you can use to assess body fat. A fat caliper is used to measure subcutaneous fat and then, calculate a person’s total body fat percentage, based on that data. The caliper measures the size of multiple skin folds on a person’s body and then, uses one of the many available formulas to get an approximation of an individual’s overall body fat percentage. Usually the fat calipers measure the following areas of the body: the bicep and tricep, the inside of the calf, the area between the armpit and nipple, between the shoulder and elbow, between the shoulder blades and the middle front of the thigh. All you need to do is to take the calipers, pinch the skin with your fingers and measure the skin fold in these particular areas.

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