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Measuring Body Fat Is Important for Determining Fitness and Health
Body Fat Calculator

Weight alone is not a clear indicator of good health because it does not distinguish between kilograms (pounds) that come from body fat and those that come from lean body mass or muscle. Carrying too much fat is a condition called obesity, and puts a person at risk for many serious medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and even certain forms of cancer. In fact, obesity contributes to at least half the chronic diseases in western society.

The scale do not tell you the whole picture - your weight is less important than your percentage of body fat when it comes to appearance, fitness, and health. Tracking your percentage of body fat better shows how you are doing with diet and exercise than measuring weight.

The following body fat calculator uses the Circumference Method where three or four body measurements are fed into a fixed formula to estimate the percentage of your body that is made up of fat. The measurements need to be accurate to within 0.5cm or 0.25 inches and should be taken as follows:

  • Height: taken without shoes
  • Neck: taken below the larynx sloping slightly downward at the front
  • Waist: for men at navel height, for women at the smallest point
  • Hips: (women only) at the largest point

Body Fat Calculator

Guidelines for Body Fat Percentage

Women (% fat)
Men (% fat)
Under Fat / Un-healthy
10 to 12%
2 to 4%
Ideal for Athletes
14 to 20%
6 to 13%
Normal for Fitness
21 to 24%
14 to 17%
Acceptable - be careful
25 to 31%
18 to 25%
32% +
25% +


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Why is Body Fat Percentage the Best Measure of "Weight?”

When most of us talk about losing weight, we generally mean weight specifically from our efforts to burn fat.
Therefore, measuring you body fat percentage is a much better way to measure the success of your weight loss and fat burning programs.

There are many ways to measure the success of your efforts to "lose weight." A few of them are:

  • Total Body Weight,
  • Body Mass Index (BMI),
  • Body Fat Percentage,
  • Waist Circumference, and
  • Lean Body Mass.

With all of those ways to measure our weight loss success, how do we know which is best?

Which Measure is the Best Way to Measure "Weight Loss?"

This is an important question. If you choose to measure the wrong thing, you may not meet your goals.

Let us take a moment to determine exactly what you want to achieve when you undertake a weight loss program. Most likely, the objective is not simply the weight loss itself. There is usually another reason. Why do you want to lose weight?

Do you need to improve your overall health through a reduction in body fat? Or, do you want to look better for your upcoming trip to the beach? Or, do you want to finally see a ripped set of abdominals?

Defining the real goal of your weight loss venture ensures that you choose the best measurement of your success.

What is Body Fat Percentage?

Body fat percentage is the percent of your total body weight that is comprised of fat.

If you are trying to lose weight by reducing fat, then, all else held equal, you are trying to reduce your body fat percentage. In the same manner, if you are attempting to build muscle, you also want to decrease your body fat percentage to show off the fruits of the time you spent in the gym. You do this through a combination of increasing your lean body mass and the amount of fat that you burn.

You can be skinny and still have a high body fat %

Many people think that if you are skinny, you will not have a high body fat %. This is not necessarily true. Body fat does not only refer to the fat that is found beneath the skin (subcutaneous). We also have fat between our muscle fibres and protecting our organs. Skinny people can have lots of fat around their organs and amongst their muscle fibres, especially if they seldom exercise. This could give them a high body fat %, even though the fat's not visible.

Can you have too little body fat?

Excess body fat can be associated with many chronic diseases. By keeping an eye on your body fat, you can reduce your risk of these diseases. There is often far too much emphasis on weight rather than on body fat. Not weight but fat relates to hypertension, diabetes, gallbladder diseases, cancer and various other health problems. On the other hand, a very low body fat is not necessarily healthy either. Too low is not good, particularly for women. Studies show that women with low body fat %s are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis and becoming infertile.

Not All Kilograms (Pounds) Are the Same

There will come a point in your weight loss program where the bathroom scale will become misleading. People often do not realize that when following a safe weight loss program, they will notice a drop in their weight, but then a slight increase after that. This is because as your body tones up and you start putting on more muscle, your body weight will then increase. This is because muscle weighs more than fat and as your body tones up your weight will increase but you probably will “loose” size.

Bottom Line

The weight on the scale indicates the total weight of all body components, fat, muscle, bones, water, your last meal etc. For health purposes, the ratios between these components are better indicators of “health” than just measuring their sum total, your weight on the scale.


Disclaimer - This site amd or product information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this Web site is designed for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your physician. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your condition.

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