Everyone needs a certain amount of body fat to store energy and maintain normal body functioning, but excess amounts can be a sign of poor fitness. The U. Navy developed a quick way to estimate body fat percentage with a tape measure. The result is close to the true value for most people, but visit a doctor if you'd like a more precise measurement. To calculate your body fat percentage, make sure you have a calculator with a "log" function since you'll need to solve the formula using log Additionally, use a fiberglass tape measure for the most accurate reading.
When you take your measurements, make sure the tape is pulled taut, but not so much that it digs into your skin. You should also take each measurement 3 times for the most accurate results. If you get slightly different numbers on a measurement, take the average of all the numbers. To learn how to properly measure your waist when calculating body fat, keep reading! This article was co-authored by Patricia Somers, RD.
Patricia Somers is a Registered Dietitian in Arkansas. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Measure your neck. The first measurement for males is measuring the neck. Follow these guidelines to make sure your measurement is accurate: Look straight ahead. Relax your shoulders without hunching. Place the measuring tape just below the Adam's apple larynx. Lay the tape flat and pull the tape around the circumference of the neck.
Note and record the measurement, rounding up to the nearest half inch.
How to Calculate Relative Fat Mass (RFM) | Cedars-Sinai
For an example, your neck measurement might be 18 inches. Measure your abdomen. Measuring your core is an essential part of your body fat as this is an area of the body that may contain higher amounts of body fat. Keep the tape flat against your skin, without compressing your soft tissue: Guide the measuring tape around the waist at the belly button. For best results, let your arms hang at your sides while someone else measures. Record the abdomen measurement after you have released the breath.
For example, your abdomen may measure 35 inches. Measure your height. Your body fat percentage is dependent on your height making this a necessary measurement. Stand straight against a wall or other flat surface. Pull your shoulders back, keep your head up, and look straight ahead. Place a ruler or straight edge against the top of your head and push it against the wall.
Mark this location with a pencil. Extend the measuring tape from the floor up to the pencil mark on the wall. Record this measurement in inches. For example, if you are 6 feet tall, write down 72 inches. Enter your data in inches. Plug the three measurements into the male body fat formula below. This formula uses log 10 , which is the default log button on calculators.
Multiple body fat calculators
This technique weighs you while submerged under water after exhaling as much air as possible from your lungs. You are also weighed while you are on dry land, and the amount of air left in your lungs after you exhale is estimated or measured. All of this information is entered into equations to determine the density of your body. Similar to hydrostatic weighing, air displacement plethysmography ADP estimates your body fat percentage based on the density of your body 9.
However, ADP uses air instead of water. The relationship between the volume and pressure of air allows this device to predict the density of your body You sit inside an egg-shaped chamber for several minutes while the pressure of the air inside the chamber is altered.
Body Fat Calculator
To obtain accurate measurements, you need to wear skin-tight clothing or a bathing suit during testing. BIA devices detect how your body responds to small electrical currents. This is done by placing electrodes on your skin. Some electrodes send currents into your body, while others receive the signal after it has passed through your body tissues.
Electrical currents move through muscle easier than fat due to the higher water content of muscle BIS uses a much larger number of electrical currents than BIA, in addition to high and low frequencies, to mathematically predict your amount of body fluid However, similar to BIA, BIS uses the body fluid information it gathers to predict your body composition based on equations The accuracy of both of these methods depends on how similar you are to the people for whom these equations were developed These devices are placed on different parts of the body to estimate the body fat of those specific areas Because this device is placed directly on specific body regions, it has some similarities to skinfold calipers, although the technologies are very different.
For some devices, you stand on a rotating platform for several minutes while the sensors detect your body shape. Other devices use sensors that rotate around your body. In this way, 3-D body scanners are similar to circumference measurements. However, a greater amount of information is provided by a 3-D scanner Multi-compartment models are considered to be the most accurate method of body composition assessment 3 , These models split the body into three or more parts.
The most common assessments are called 3-compartment and 4-compartment models. These models require multiple tests to get estimates of body mass, body volume, body water and bone content Information from each of these methods is combined to build a more complete picture of the body and obtain the most accurate body fat percentage 21 , It may be done to find out if you have too much or too little body fat.
The test is one of the ways to measure healthy weight. People who are trying to become more fit and lose weight sometimes use the test to check for changes in their body fat levels. There are several ways to estimate body fat. The easiest and most popular ways to test are not as accurate as more expensive methods. The least expensive and most popular tests include:. More accurate tests are usually done only at universities and research facilities.
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They include:. Experts have different opinions. But generally, healthy body fat is considered to be:. Your age, sex, and activity level will also affect your percentage of body fat. For example, endurance runners have less body fat than swimmers. But body fat percentage is not the best way to measure your risk for weight-related diseases. Your doctor may also suggest checking your BMI body mass index , your waist size, and your waist-to-hip ratio.
Your waist-to-hip ratio is a comparison of your waist size to your hip size. A higher BMI, waist size, and waist-to-hip ratio means that you are at higher risk for weight-related disease.
Medical Review: Anne C. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine. Learning About Body Fat Testing. Skip Navigation.
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