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How to Check your Body Fat Percentage?

Body fat in your body tells many things about your overall health and well-being. Though it depends on many factors (body type, age, and sex of an individual), its balance reflects the state of your health. While excess body fat is bad for health, too little fat in the body is the indicator of a disease or an underlying medical condition. By knowing the body fat percentage, you can determine if your body has more or less fat. Thereafter, you can assess the possible risks and take timely actions to prevent them.


While it is true that there are specific settings to establish body fat percentage, they are not mandatory. You can also check it from the convenience of your home. However, you must employ the right methods or techniques to get accurate information about it. 


How to Check Body Fat Percentage at Home

Wondering how to check body fat at home? You can do it by adopting four methods as given below.


  1. By Using Skinfold Calipers

You would want to use an inexpensive method for measuring the fat percentage of your body at home. Using skinfold calipers is one such method that you would want to try out at home. Several other methods are either expensive or difficult to employ. But using skinfold calipers for body fat measurement is both inexpensive and easy.


Fat can accumulate in different parts of the body. Some such body parts are the thigh, triceps, and abdomen. Besides, a thick layer of subcutaneous fat can also get deposited under the skin. Calipers use the pinching technique to measure the deposits of subcutaneous fat in the body.


Some popular techniques used for measuring the fat percentage in the body with the help of calipers include the following:

  • 7-site measurement method
  • 3-site measurement method
  • 8-site measurement method


Technically, these methods resemble one another. The only factor that differentiates them from each other is the number of skinfold measurements. The 7-site measurement method involves measurements from seven different parts of the body. These include the following:

  • Thigh
  • Abdomen
  • Above the hip
  • Midaxillary
  • Chest
  • The shoulder blade
  • Triceps


After knowing the skinfold measurements, you need to add them up. Their sum total is the percent body fat in your body. For accurate results, get the skinfold measurements in millimetres. Alternatively, you can also use equations to find out the measurements.


Both manual and digital versions of skinfold calipers are available in the market. You can choose any one of them. No matter whichever version of the item you use, you must perform all the steps correctly to achieve desired results. Though skinfold calipers are popular for their accuracy, your outcomes will depend on the existing level of fat in your body and also the way in which you use the tool.


  1. By Measuring Body Circumference

You can also determine body fat at home by measuring the circumference of your body. In this method, you need to take measurements of some of the parts of your body with the help of tape. After doing it, you need to input the values (the values of the measurement) in an equation to calculate the fat percent of your body.


The bodies of men and women differ from each other. Therefore, the parts of the body you need to consider for measurement will depend on your gender. If you are a woman, you need to get the measurements of the neck, the waist, and the hips of your body. On the other hand, you need measurements of only the neck and the waist if you are a male individual.


To get the measurement of your waist right, consider your natural waistline (or the smallest circumference of your waist). For the buttocks, consider the larger-sized protrusion. And lastly, measure the part that lies just below the voice box to get the measurement of the neck.


After measuring these parts of the body (based on your gender), you need to read their measurements parallel to the floor. Get the averages by following this method. Next, place the values of the averages into the following equation, along with your height.

  • For men: Percentage of body fat = 86.010 x log10 (d – c) – 70.041 x log10 (your height) + 36.76
  • For women: Percentage of body fat = 163.205 x log10 (a + b – c) – 97.684 x log10 (your height) – 78.387


In the above equation, a, b, c, and d represent the measurements of the following parts of the body:

  • a - waist
  • b - hip
  • c - neck
  • d - abdomen


This method is reliable, and so it is used to measure the fat percentage in the bodies of military personnel. It gives you the right results only when you measure the stated body parts accurately.


  1. Body Fat Scales

Using body fat scales is one of the simplest methods to check body fat. These smart scales work in a different way in comparison to traditional scales. Body fat scales consist of weight scales. It merges these scales with a foot-to-foot impedance meter or the FFI meter to give its value.


The method by which body fat scales work is simple. First, the FFI meter sends electrical signals to all parts of the body. Fat and muscle respond to it in different ways. Body fat scales use these responses of both fat and muscles in the body to calculate body fat percentage.


Despite not being as accurate as some of the other methods, it is useful to find out the percentage of fat in the body.


  1. By Measuring the Circumference of Your Waist

The accumulation of excess fat in the midsection of the body increases the risk of heart disease, high glucose levels in the blood (diabetes), and several other diseases or medical conditions. You can get to know if the accumulation of fat in the mid-section of your body is more than the usual level by measuring the circumference of your waist. You can do it with the help of a non-stretch tape.


Adjust the tape in a horizontal position around your waist. While you can fit the tape snugly, try not to compress the skin. The recommended cut-off point for the waist circumference of men is less than equal to 40.2 inches or 102 cm. And for women, it is less than or equal to 34.25 inches or 88 cm.


Final Thoughts

Excess subcutaneous fat in your body can adversely affect your health. Due to it, you may develop metabolic and other types of diseases in the future. You can prevent them by knowing the fat percentage of your body by using the above methods. If it is more than usual, you can take corrective actions to prevent diseases and other health risks. The steps of the above methods are simple, and you can perform them at home with ease.


Medanta Medical Team
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