body fat percentage calculations can be helpful when trying to determine your overall health.
Your body’s fat percentage is the exact amount of your weight that is made up of fat. So if your fat percentage is 25% and you weigh 100 pounds – that means that twenty-five pounds of your body’s weight is made up of fat.
Many health care professionals use several different methods to measure the fat percentage.The three most popular methods are bioelectrical impedance, skin fold calipers, and underwater weighing.
Bioelectrical Impedance measurements use a machine that runs an electrical current through your body that measures your body’s total water, and your body’s lean muscle tissue. Muscle has water in it, whereas fat contains very little water. The bioelectrical impedance machine is able to determine the difference between your body’s total weight and your lean tissue (or muscle) weight. The remainder is your body fat percentage. This is a very popular method of body fat measurement and is easy to do, painless and not invasive.
Skin Fold Calipers measure the skin fold thickness which measures the amount of fat under your skin. This type of body fat measuring tool requires a skilled and experienced technician or you can get very inaccurate results. It is also a bit invasive as the technician is required to lightly “pinch” several areas of your bare skin on your body. In addition, if you are very overweight or if you are an older person with looser less-elastic skin this method may provide results that are not correct.
Underwater weighing is the most invasive of the body fat measurement techniques. It can require a special water tank and some complicated measuring equipment. To get a measurement with this system, you will be required to sit in a large tank or tub of water in a special chair. The person measuring you will then submerge you under the water and you are required to get all the air out of your lungs and then hold it for at least 10 seconds while your weight is being recorded. You then repeat this process of submersion and release of all air from your lungs multiple times so that the tech can get many readings that will then be averaged to give you your final fat percentage. Many people say that this method is the most accurate for body fat measurements. However because it is the most invasive and requires specialized equipment – it is not the most popular method used.