Body Fat and Losing Weight

Watching your weight is more than just regularly scaling yourself. Besides losing weight, one should also look out for body fat. The weight you see might be deceiving you. 

You may appear to be overweight but the amount of fat in your body might just be appropriate for you. Some may carry hidden fat.

A more accurate measurement of one’s physical condition is the body fat percentage. This is the percentage of weight that is made up of fat. Similar terms are body fat ratio and body composition.

Determining the right body fat percentage for someone is dependent on certain factors. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

Women need more body fat than men. For one, they are structured that way. Breasts are almost all fat and hips carry a lot of fat. Men, on the other hand, generally have more muscle.

Age is also a factor when computing for body fat. As people get older, muscles tend to shrink, and visceral fat accumulates.

Take note that body mass index is different from body fat. The BMI is a formula based on height and weight. Other than that, there are certain instances where BMI is not accurate. BMI also varies in some ethnic groups.

There are a number of ways to find out body fat percentage:

DEXA scan – this is a full body X-ray scan and is very accurate.

Hydrostatic weighing – weighing is done underwater, completely submerged, with all air blown out of the lungs. This is accurate when done professionally.

Skin-fold calipers – also called a pinch test, it is a simple process but it needs to be done by someone trained.

Bioelectrical impedance – these are scales and hand-held devices that run low-level electrical current through you. Accuracy depends on the device and how it is used.

Navy tape measure method – this is a formula based on body measurements taken with a tape measure. It can be quite accurate, but it depends upon one’s ability to accurately measure.


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