Why You Should Calculate Body Fat Percentage
You might not want to think about how to calculate body fat percentage, but taking the time to do so is time well spent. If you know your body fat percentage, it will help you to understand how much work you need to do to lose weight and reach your optimal health goals.
Experts agree that your body fat percentage is a good basic guideline in determining some aspects of health.
However, it is important to remember that you can have a low or acceptable body fat percentage and still be unhealthy.
For example, if you are smoking three packs of cigarettes per day and have a diet comprised of mostly fast food and processed food you can have an ideal body fat percentage and still be quite unhealthy.
Knowing Your Body Fat Percentage
Many health experts see body fat percentage as being a more useful and practical indicator of health than the widely used body mass index or BMI. The BMI takes a person’s weight and divides it by their height to get a measurement.
By contrast, body fat percentage strictly deals just with the amount of body fat someone has. Men can be considered “athletic” or “fit” with a body fat percentage of anywhere from 6% to 15%, with the average ratio being anything from 18% to 24%. Any number over 25% is considered obese.
These numbers are drastically different for women. This factor should be taken into consideration when you calculate body fat percentage. Even athletic women need at least 14% body fat and “fit” women can have body fat percentages as high as 24%.
Average body fat percentages for women fall between 25% and 31%, thus meaning that any number over 32% is deemed as being obese. Additionally, it is very important to realize that women who fall below 14% in body fat could face medical and health consequences.
Methods of Calculation
There are a variety of resources available online where you can quickly calculate body fat percentage by entering your weight and the number of inches around your waste. If you are a woman, it is also useful to measure your wrist, hips and forearms.
There are numerous different methods to determine your body fat percentage. Some of these methods are quite scientific. The easiest and commonly used method of calculation is to use one’s BMI numbers as a basis. While this method may not be as accurate as others, it is actually far easier to use.
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