Body Fat Measurement Techniques and Understanding Obesity

Body fat percentage

The body fat percentage (BFP) of a human or other living being is the total mass of fat divided by total body mass; body fat includes essential body fat and storage body fat. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. The percentage of essential fat is 3–5% in men, and 8–12% in women.

Body Fat Measurement Techniques :- 

There are quite a few methods to measure a person’s body fat.  All methods require equipment and trained personnel. Some of these methods are :-

Underwater Weight : This method weighs a person underwater and then calculates body fat based upon the amount of displaced water.

BOD POD : The BOD POD is a computerised, egg- shaped chamber. After the person enters the BOD POD, the amount of fat but also the location of fat in the body.

DEXA : Dual – energy X- ray absorptiometry ( DEXA) is similar to a bone scan. It uses X-rays to determine not only the amount of fat but also the location of fat in the bosy.

Skin Calipers :  The skin fold thickness in several parts of the body is measured with calipers, a metal tool similar to forceps.

Bio electric impedance analysis: Another seemingly simple method involves standing on  a special scale with footpads. A harmless amount of electric current is passed through a person’s body and analysed.

However, these methods can yield inaccurate results if an inexperienced person performs them or they are used on someone with significant obesity.

Weight/ Height Tables :

Because measuring a person’s body fat is tricky, there is often reliance on other means to diagnose obesity. Two widely used methods are based on weight-for-height tables and body mass index. while both systems have their limitations, they are reasonable indicator that someone may have a weight problem. The calculations are easy and no special equipment is required.

                                     Ideal Height – Weight for Adults

Height(cm)                Height (inches)           Average wt (Kg)              Average(kg)                                                                                   (men)                          ( women)

146                                      4’9″                                                                46
148                                      4’10”                                                              46.5
150                                      4’11”                                                              47.0
152                                      5′                                                                   49.5
156                                      5’1.5″                                                             50.4
158                                      5’2.2″                       55.8                               51.3
160                                      5’3″                          57.6                               52.6
162                                      5’3.8″                       58.6                               54.0
164                                      5’4.6″                       59.6                               55.4
166                                      5’5.4″                       60.6                               56.8
168                                      5’6.1″                       61.7                               58.1
170                                      5’6.9″                       63.5                               60.0
172                                      5’7.7″                       65.0                               61.3
174                                      5’8.5″                       66.5                               64.0
176                                      5’10”                        69.4                               65.3
178                                      5’10.8″                     71.0
182                                      5’11.6″                     72.6
184                                      6’0.4″                       74.2

Understanding Obesity

obesity means being overweight with excess body fat. Everyone needs a certain amount of body fat for stored energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions. Women on the average have more body fat than men. The normal proportion of body fat to body  weight is between 25 and 30 per cent in women versus 18 and 23 percent in women. Women with over 30 percent body fat and men with  over 25 per cent body fat are considered obese.

Causes of Obesity : 

There are some reasons  that might be responsible for obesity:

Genetic Factors
Environmental Factors
psychological Factors
Medical Factors


Obesity in Children : This is clearly visible in the urban areas. The culprit is a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. Obese children  are seen to suffer from a number of ailments like hypertension,  cardiovascular diseases, gallstones, osteoarthritis and diabetes. In many cases, fat children have grown up to be obese adults. So, to nip the problem in the bud, here are a few tips to keep your child healthy:-

Don’t make your child eat when he or she is’nt hungry.

Don’t use food to comfort or as a reward.

Don’t offer dessert as a reward for finishing a meal. Doing this teaches your child to value more than other foods.

Offer your child a healthy diet. Not more than 30 percent of all the calories your child eats should be from fat. Your child needs to get lots of fibre from fruits, vegetables and grains.

Don’t eat at fast-food restaurants more than thrice a month.

Limit how much TV your child watches. Try to get your child to do some activity instead, like cycling or playing ball.

Spend time with your child- go on family walks and play outdoor games together whenever you can.

Teach your child good eating and exercise habits.





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