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How to Calculate Body Fat

How to calculate body fatIf you need to know how to calculate body fat percentage there are many methods.

Famously, the most accurate is an autopsy, out of the question, naturally, for those of us still with a pulse. Other methods include underwater weighing (based on the principle that muscle and fat have a different density when in water), near-infrared interactance (using a fibre optic probe), dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and much more.

You can read about all these fascinating methods of how to measure body fat percentage in an excellent booklet, "Understanding Body Fat Analysis," that can be downloaded from the Tanita website.

For most people, measuring body fat percentage will be done by a home-use body fat monitor. Since these hit the market in the mid-1990s, technology has been advancing rapidly, while prices have been falling. It is now possible to find a quality device at a quite reasonable price.

Today's monitors are generally like a bathroom scale, with electrodes in foot sensor pads sending a current through the body.

This signal passes easily through water, but meets resistance from fat, and thus can provide a measure of fat and water in the body. The resulting data is combined with other information - such as the person's height and weight - to calculate a body fat percentage.

Some people question the accuracy of such monitors for body fat calculations. However, the latest devices can be very accurate, although it is important that the user follows the instructions.

For example, if he or she is dehydrated a false reading can result. Drinking a lot of coffee or alcohol can also adversely affect the calculation, as can hard exercise or a big meal right before the reading.

See also my report Helping You Find the Best Body Fat Scale, which lists the 15 best body fat monitors, based on customer reviews. And check out the Bestsellers in Body Fat Monitors rankings at - updated hourly - to see what people are currently buying.

I have written reports on the following models:

Escali Body Fat Calculators
Omron HBF-306 Body Fat Analyzer
Omron HBF-400 Body Fat Monitor and Scale
Tanita BC 533 Innerscan Body Composition Monitor
Tanita Body Fat Scale
Tanita Innerscan BC-545 Segmental Body Composition Monitor
Tanita InnerScan Body Composition Monitor Series
Tanita Ironman Body Composition Monitor Series
Taylor Body Fat Scale
Taylor Glass Body Fat Analyzer & Scale
Withings WiFi Body Scale - Does More Than Calculate Body Fat Percentage

December 22nd, 2009




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