No doubt the number on the scale is important, but so is knowing your percentage of body fat. By itself, body fat is not the enemy: After all, body fat serves a purpose. It stores energy, controls body temperature, and protects organs. The problem is excess body fat, which leads to obesity. Overweight or obese individuals are at increased risk for health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and several other cancers.
Using a body-fat calculator can help you determine whether you’re overweight or obese and at risk for these health conditions, and then spur you to take action to get healthy.
There are many methods of calculating body fat. You can take measurements, get the formula, and then do the math with pencil and paper. Or you take a shortcut and use an online tool, such as the My Calorie Counter Body Fat Calculator, based on the U.S. Navy Circumference Method, which tallies your body-fat percentage using the measurements of your neck, waist, and hips along with your height and gender. With this information you'll have a solid knowledge of your body-fat percentage.
Be sure to take your measurements as accurately as possible. Get someone to help if you can.
Here are some quick tips:
• Use a cloth measuring tape.
• Be sure to measure your height with your shoes off.
• Measure the circumference of the neck from below the larynx with the tape sloping slightly down to the front.
• Women should measure their hips around the widest point.
• Finally, the NIH recommends that the best way to measure your waist size is to stand, then exhale completely, and place the tape measure around your middle, just above the hips.
Read more on EverydayHealth.com.