Which test measures body fat accurately?

To function, your body requires fat. Excess fat can make your body more susceptible to developing diseases such as heart disease, kidney problems, or cancer.

Your health is more about your body fat percentage than body weight. Although measuring your waist circumference may help determine if you are overweight or obese, it doesn’t always indicate how much fat is in your body.

Your body mass index (BMI) calculates your body fat percent by considering water, fat, bone, muscle, and fat. Although a bodybuilder may have an elevated BMI, their weight will likely be lower because of the higher levels of bone and muscle.

These are tests that accurately measure your total fat and compare it to your waist measurements.

Here are five tests that measure your total body fat percentage.

1. Hydrostatic (or submerged) weighing

This involves measuring your body weight on dry soil and then measuring it in the water. To measure your weight in water, you will sit naked on a chair that has been submerged half of the way in the water.

Because of its accuracy, this method is the gold standard in calculating body fat, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. This is not an easy task and takes time.

2. Test OF BOD/POD

BOD POD testing employs the principle of air displacement plethysmography. The test is performed in an egg-shaped, computer-controlled chamber known as a BOD POOD. Before you can enter the chamber, your volume and body weight are measured. The chamber will then calculate your body fat percentage by measuring the amount of air that your body has lost upon entry.

The BOD POD test gives accurate results and is quick. This test requires technical expertise and can be quite costly.

3. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan

A DEXA scan measures bone density using a low-dose radiograph. The scan can also measure body composition (including bone and muscle) and fat content in certain parts of the body. The scan produces a “fat shadow,” which shows the distribution and fat content in your abdomen, arms, legs, pelvis, and pelvis.

The DEXA scan provides fast results and is widely accepted as the best method to obtain a complete analysis of your body composition. Therefore, this machine is limited to hospitals and research centers and is not generally available for general public use.

4. Body Fat Scale ( BIA) Test

A BIA test uses the principle that water, fat, and electricity conduct differently. A harmless, small electric current is passed through the body during the test. The current speed is used to determine the body’s amount of fat. Slower travels usually indicate a higher body-fat percentage.

The same principle applies to a handheld body fat scale. This device calculates your body fat percentage using an equation. All you need to do is enter your age, gender, height, and weight. A doctor’s practice and fitness center can provide body fat scales. You can also buy one on the street.

These calculations are fast and easy but don’t always accurately reflect your actual body fat percentage. The accuracy of your calculation could be affected by water, food intake, or physical activity.

5. Skinfold test

This test requires a vernier scale and professional help. A vernier scale is a device with a clamp that measures the thickness of skinfolds within the body.

For men, the skinfold test used the following bodyparts:

  • Chest
  • Thigh
  • Abdomen

For women, the skinfold test used the following bodyparts:

  • Triceps
  • Thigh
  • Suprailiac: About an inch above your hip bone

Because of the low cost and simplicity of vernier calipers, the skinfold test has been widely used for measuring body fat. This method is not accurate as it depends on the accuracy of the measurements. Measurements can be taken multiple times by different people and not give accurate results.

Body Fat Percentage Chart

The ACSM (American college of sports and medicine) make chart of men and women with ideal body fat according to age.

Here it is

Age20–2930–3940–4950–5960+
Male7–17%12–21%14–23%16–24%17–25%
Female16–24%17–25%19–28%22–31%22–33%

These ranges are considered ideal.

Your body might not have enough energy to complete the day if it has too low body fat. You may be at greater risk for developing heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes if you have too many body fat.

Eat Healthy & Stay Healthy!

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