Measuring your body weight… Your first step towards an ideal figure!

For most people, the word ‘fat’ is a dreaded one. In fact, this word is notorious for evoking strong reactions from otherwise calm people. As much as we hate this word, the truth remains that it is greatly misunderstood.

To be healthy, we all need a certain amount of body fat—women need a higher percentage of fat in their body than men. It is the excess fat that we need to be wary of. Most health experts believe that men having a body fat percentage higher than 25 and women having a body fat percentage higher than 30 are obese.

Today, it is widely accepted that the percentage of body fat is a better indication of being overweight or obese than an individual’s weight. However, calculating the exact amount of fat a person is carrying is not easy.

Over the years, various methods have been used for measuring body fat percentage and ascertaining the extent of one’s obesity. Here is a list of some of such methods:

  1. DEXA

Although not a practical method, DEXA is accurate in calculating the exact amount of a person’s body fat. This method involves using an X-ray test named Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry for calculating body fat percentage.

  1. Electric current

This method involves passing a safe amount of electricity through an individual’s body to calculate his/her obesity. The problem with this method is that the results can be completely off target if it is used by an inexperienced practitioner or on a severely obese person.

  1. Thickness of fat under the skin

A simple method, this involves measuring the thickness of subcutaneous fat. This method is usually used in commercial weight loss programs and health clubs.

  1. Weight-for-height tables

Weight-for-height tables list the range of acceptable fat, fat content in overweight people, and obesity for a given height. Though this approach is simple, it has certain obvious shortcomings.

The first and foremost is that there are many different tables, so one doesn’t know which version to follow. The second issue is that the table fails make a distinction between body fat and muscle fat. The method classifies a person as having normal weight, being overweight, or being obese on the basis of his/her overall weight. So, weight-for-height tables may declare a muscular person as overweight when it is clearly not the case.

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI)

Today, the most accepted method used for measuring obesity is BMI. This method uses a mathematical formula in which an individual’s weight in kilograms is divided by the square of his/her height in meters (kg/m2) to calculate body fat.  BMI classification of body weight is listed below:

BMI less than 25 – Normal weight.

BMI between 25-30 – Overweight.

BMI of or more than 30 – Obese.

BMI is not only a medical standard to measure obesity, but is also used for gauging a person’s risk to weight-related health conditions. So, calculate your BMI to ascertain your weight category.

If you fall in the overweight or obese category, adopt a healthy lifestyle to lose weight and reduce your risk to weight-related diseases.