Weight Loss

How to determine the level of fat in your body?

Our body is mostly water, but it also has soft tissue, muscle and, of course, fat. How to find out the exact amount of fat?


What is the normal percentage of body fat? The rate will depend on the sex and age of the person. So, for boys from 18 to 24 years old, the normal value is 10-18%, and for girls of the same age – about 18-25%. Further, with increasing age, the percentage also increases. But we are talking about unsportsmanlike people who lead the most ordinary way of life.

Why is the percentage of fat in women higher? Because the structure of their body is very different from that of a man. So, the breast is almost entirely composed of adipose tissue. In addition, belly fat is acceptable (it protects important reproductive organs). And usually men are more mobile. Among other things, women tend to have lower metabolic rates.

How to find out the amount of fat?

So how do you determine your body fat level? There are several different ways.


If you don’t want to do the calculations yourself, you can use a calculator. This is a program that allows you to determine the level of fat using the basic parameters of a person. All that needs to be done is to enter the required values ​​in the appropriate columns. But first, take a few measurements.

So, you will need to measure the volume of the neck, waist and hips, as well as height and weight. Some calculators are based on gender and lifestyle. Having entered all the necessary values, you just need to start the program, and in just a few seconds you will find out the percentage of fat. But such calculations, of course, are approximate, since a single formula (or several formulas) is used, and the features of the body structure are not taken into account.


On sale you can find scales with the function of measuring the percentage of fat, as well as bone tissue and muscle mass. The main principle of their work is to use a weak electric current that passes through the body and evaluates the state of the body, namely the volume of certain tissues in it.

You will not feel the tension, as it is minimal. The calculations are very reliable, but truly accurate scales can hardly be found in ordinary stores, and they will cost a lot. Devices that are low cost and are commercially available from engineering departments are unlikely to produce accurate results. Probably, the calculations in them are made using simple mathematical programs and algorithms.

Professional measurements

Professional methods for determining the percentage of fat, of course, are accurate and reliable, but are available only in specialized institutions. In addition, measurements are usually paid and not cheap.

Basic methods:

  • Bioimpedance – current measurement. The essence of the method is based on the action of the current, or rather the speed of its passage through the body. A weak charge will be passed through you. And the slower it passes through the body, the more fat it contains. The measurements are very accurate, the error is about 2%.
  • Measurements in water are fairly accurate (the error is 3%), but such a service is provided in few clinics. The method is based on the fact that fat, as you know, does not sink in water, because it is much lighter. A person is seated and fixed in a chair, which is immersed in water for 10 seconds (for this period, you need to hold your breath). Several dives are carried out, then the percentage of fat is calculated using the formulas.
  • Ultrasound. The vibrations of the waves make it possible to determine the density of tissues and thereby find fat. But such measurements are inaccurate, so they are practically not used.
  • X-ray scanner. This method is the most accurate, but the procedure is quite expensive. In addition, this service is not available everywhere.

Self measurements

Another way to calculate the percentage of body fat is caliperometry, that is, the measurement of folds of fat. To take measurements, it is best to use a special device – a caliper. But if it is not there, then the most ordinary caliper may do.

Measurements should be taken at four locations:

  • On the triceps, namely in the back of the arm, approximately in the middle of the shoulder (at equal distances from the elbow and shoulder joints).
  • Now, in the same way, you need to measure the biceps (it is also located in the shoulder area, but in front), grabbing the fatty tissue in the middle.
  • You also need to measure the scapula, but so that the tissue is grabbed at an angle of 45 degrees. In this case, you will need outside help.
  • The last area is the belly (it has the most adipose tissue). Step back about 10 centimeters from the navel to either side.

How to measure the fat fold correctly? You need to pinch yourself in the right place with the ends of your index and thumb. Pull the skin along with the fat, but do not grab the muscle tissue (they are harder and more elastic). Hold the fold and measure with a caliper.

All the results obtained must be summed up, and the total amount must be compared with the values ​​in a special table.

Determine your body fat percentage to find out if you should lose weight.

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