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How To Measure Body Fat

November 14, 2010 Print This ArticleShare

Author: Michael Greeves

When you are trying to lose weight, you need a way of keeping up with your progress. While you'll probably write down the number of pounds you have lost, you can still check your progress by measuring your body fat. Knowing how to measure body fat is important and it isn't difficult to do.

Calculating true body fat can be tough. There is more than one way to do it, but some actually work better than others. Some ways are not as accurate as others so you may want to explore the various methods before settling on one or depending on one answer as your definitive amount of body fat.

Height-weight tables can be used to measure body fat. These will give you a range, say a specific height and weight and tell you how much you should weigh if you fall into that specific category. This is usually in the form of a particular range. This is not as accurate for several reasons. Even if you meet those qualifications, you may still feel as if you have too much body fat. Everyone has a different make up so two people who are exactly the same height and weigh the same will probably have a different body composition. This body composition will dictate how much each should weigh and it will vary for both. Still, looking at a height and weight table will give you an idea of where you should be in terms of weight and can serve as an indicator of sorts, even though it is not completely dependable.

There are also body composition machines available in a number of places. Super markets have them as do some airports. There you are asked to enter your height, age and even your frame size. These can be even more unreliable than height and weight tables in some cases because they do not calculate your actual body fat. Like height and weight tables, they tell you nothing about your overall health.

Body mass index, or BMI is probably one of the most popular means of measuring body fat. It is a very simple tool that is used as a risk assessment for the general population of people. While it does not calculate body fat per say, when compared to height-weight tables it does have a higher association with body fat. BMI equals body mass in kilograms, or KGs. Divide weight in pounds by 2.2046 to get your weight in KGs. The height needs to be in meters instead of feet and inches. Height will be multiplied by itself. Divide the weight by that answer to get your BMI.

While BMI does not measure exact body fat per say, it does serve as in indicator for assessing one's risk of contracting various degenerative diseases.

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