- Neck vs. Waist Body Fat
- Healthy Body Measurements for a Woman
- BMI Calculator for Bodybuilders
- Body Mass Index Advantages & Disadvantages
- Healthy BMIs for Female Athletes
- The Ideal BMI for Men
Women are inundated with information telling them they need to lose weight, but they may not be aware of what a normal, healthy body fat percentage actually is. Exercise, diet and genetics can all affect your body fat percentage, and there is no one specific body fat number that is healthy for everyone; instead, healthy body fat falls within a range of about 21 to 35 percent. This percentage is also referred to as body mass index (BMI). Women should generally have higher body fat percentages than men.
Role of Body Fat
Fat is the primary means through which the body stores energy, and without fat, you wouldn’t be able to function. Fat also helps to cushion the organs and keep the body at a healthy temperature. Thus, fat is not a bad thing at all but instead needs to fall within a healthy range. Having too little fat can interfere with organ and heart function and may result in low energy and other health problems. People with too much fat may suffer from joint pain and cardiovascular problems. Consequently, it’s not just the weight on the scale that matters; it’s how much of that weight is due to body fat.
Body Fat Percentages
A healthy body fat percentage is heavily influenced by age. Older people require more body fat to remain healthy, and an ideal body mass index for seniors is between 24 and 35 percent. Women between ages 40 and 59 should have body fat percentages between 23 and 33 percent, while women between 18 and 40 should have body fat percentages between 21 and 32 percent. Athletes may have significantly lower body fat percentages, and estimates vary slightly on ideal body fat percentages. The Medical Center at NYU Langone, for example, says that healthy body fat for women is between 18.5 and 24.9 and that women are classified as obese if their BMI is above 30.
Calculating Body Fat
The simplest way to calculate body fat is to use your height and weight. Divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, then multiply the number by 703. For example, if you are 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, multiply 60 — your height in inches — by 60 to get 3,600. Then divide 100 by 3,600 to get approximately .02778. Multiple this number by 703 to get 19.5. Round up to 20. Your body fat percentage is 20 percent. However, this number does not measure actual fat and just takes into account averages based on height and weight. A body fat caliper uses samples of fat throughout your body to estimate body fat. Your doctor might also have different formulas based upon a body fat caliper and your height and weight to calculate your body fat percentage.
Healthy Body Fat
Maintaining healthy body fat is a matter of diet and exercise; 3,500 calories weigh approximately 1 pound. To lose a pound, you’ll need to burn 3,500 calories more than you eat through a combination of diet and exercise, and to gain a pound you’ll need to add 3,500 calories to your diet. Regular exercise can help you remain healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week and two days per week of strength training.
- University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: Weighing in on Body Fat?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Exercise Do Adults Need?
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Your Body Fat Percentage: What Does It Mean?
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor’s degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.
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Table of Contents
|1||How to use our body fat calculator?|
|2||Body fat percentage formula|
|3||How to calculate body fat percentage?|
|4||Body fat percentage chart|
Body fat percentage calculator is used to calculate body fat percentage in the human body. It determines the total percentage of fat in the body by taking various measurements of the body. It is a very efficient and robust calculator that produces results in no time.
In this post, we will explain how to measure body fat percentage, body fat percentage men, body fat percentage women, body fat percentage formula, and much more.
How to use our body fat calculator?
To use our ideal body fat percentage calculator, follow the below steps:
- Select your gender in the given input box.
- Enter your age in the given input box.
- Enter your height in the given input box and select the unit of measurement. It offers multiple units to measure.
- Enter your weight. You can use lbs., tone, gram, kilogram, pound, and ounce.
- Enter your neck circumference in the given input box.
- Enter your waist circumference.
- Press the Calculate button to see your body fat percentage.
It will give you the body fat, body fat percentage, army body fat, navy body fat, lean body mass, and ideal body mass.
Body fat percentage formula
The formula for body fat percentage is as follow:
Lean body mass (women) = ( weight × 0.732 ) + 8.987 + wrist 3.140 − waist × 0.157 − hip × 0.249 + forearm × 0.434 =\left(\text
How to calculate body fat percentage?
How much body fat do I have? How to find body fat percentage? What is my body fat percentage? If you have these kinds of questions in your mind, you are surely in the right place.
To calculate the body fat percentage, follow these steps carefully:
- Measure your weight and note down.
- Measure your waist size and note down.
- Measure your forearm and note down. This measurement is only for women.
- Measure your wrist and note down. This measurement is only for women.
- Measure your hip and note it down.
- Substitute the values in lean mass formula to get the lean body mass.
- Calculate the body fat weight by subtracting the lean body mass from your weight.
- Now substitute the body fat weight and your weight in body fat percentage formula to get the body fat percentage.
A 21 years old boy Sam has a weight of 40 kg. His other measurements are:
Find the body fat percentage of Sam?
As we already have all the measurements, we only need to substitute values in the above equations, which is step number 6. So we start from step 6.
Step 1: First, calculate the lean body mass.
Step 2: Calculate body fat weight.
Step 3: Calculate the body fat percentage.
Body fat percentage chart
Below is the body fat percentage table for men and women.
If you want to know how fit you are or how much difference your training routine has been making, then you need to measure your body fat percentage. It is a much better and useful method than simply measuring the BMI. Measuring the body fat percentage can be done in a number of different ways which vary in ease of use, accuracy, and affordability. We recommend the body fat calipers as an ideal instrument for this purpose. So, how to use them?
How to Use Body Fat Calipers
1. Understand How Calipers Work
The body fat calipers are used to measure the skinfold at different places on a person’s body. They don’t actually measure the body fat percentage directly. The ‘pinch test’ or the method used to measure the skin folds is recommended to be taken at 3 to 10 places for an accurate measurement. The degree of accuracy of this method will vary, depending on the proficiency of the person as well as the formula used to compute the body fat percentage.
The more experience you have in using these calipers, the easier and more accurate your body fat percentage measurements will be.
2. Choose a Formula and Stick to It
Several different formulas can be used to measure the body fat percentage in a person. These are specific to different people depending upon their baseline fitness levels, age, race, sex and other factors. A person may get different results by using different formulas; therefore you’d better stick to one formula.
Bet you never thought the answer to ‘how to use body fat calipers’ involved so much math. You can use one of the commonly known measurements like Navy Tape or simply track the skin fold measurements. You can also use online software to help you calculate the result.
3. Learn the Points of Measurement on the Body
The key to administering the pinch test properly is to be consistent in your measurements. This begins with identifying the points on the body where you will be measuring the skin folds, as well as the kind of measurement that you will be taking: vertical or horizontal.
Usually, the right side of the body is measured when you stand straight.
Some of the common areas where measurements are taken include the triceps, the biceps, thighs, iliac crest, the axilla and the supraspinal.
4. Pinch the Skin and Pull Outwards
Still wondering about how to use body fat calipers? Start by making a ‘C’ shape with the forefinger and the thumb. Use this to pinch a fold of skin and pull it outwards. The attempt should be to include as much of the skin as possible without including any of the underlying muscle. Avoid excessive pulling. You should only feel a little pain when you are pinching the skin.
5. Hold the Pair of Calipers in the Other Hand
After you have pinched a sufficient amount of skin, proceed to measure that fold with calipers. The correct way to hold the calipers is to hold them with the thumb resting on the upper arm and the index finger on the lower arm of the caliper.
The jaws of the caliper should be placed over the center of the skinfold. Press down on the caliper arms till the jaws stop at the width of the fold.
It is always prudent to repeat these measurements several times so that any error can be eliminated. If the subsequent measurements vary by a few millimeters then calculate the average of these readings and use that for your measurements.
6. Write the Measurements on Paper
This may seem obvious at first, but a lot of people underestimate how fickle the human memory is. Make sure you write down the measurements on a piece of paper, average them out correctly and then enter them into the formula. Keep a notebook of your measurements so that you can have a clear idea of the progress you have made.
How Accurate Is the Result?
The body fat percentage measurements by using a body fat caliper are going to vary with slight changes in position, the person taking the measurement, or the number of times a person has performed this procedure.
The result returned by this method may not be corroborated by another method, such as a DEXA scan. What should be remembered is that the measurements should be taken as consistently as possible so that the change in measurements can be observed. If your body fat percentage goes down from 16% to 14%, then you should celebrate instead of worrying about whether the number is accurate or not.
What Are Good Body Fat Percentages?
How to use body fat calipers? You already know the answer. Then you may wonder what good body fat percentages are. Keep these facts in mind.
- Body fat percentages will always be a little higher in females than in males. For professional body builders who attend competitions, a body fat percentage of 4-7% for males and 10-12% for females is what they should be aiming for.
- Non-professional men and women who just want a lean physique should aim for having a body fat percentage of 8-12% and 12-18% respectively.
- A body fat percentage of 25% would be considered healthy for both males and females; however, if the level is higher than this then a reduction should be considered.
A clinical study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) showed that self-testing body fat percentage with a basic set of body fat calipers was just as accurate as a body fat measurement performed by an experienced clinician who utilized a professional set of body fat calipers. When compared to an expensive underwater body fat calculation, which is considered the “gold standard” of body fat measurement methods, results achieved from using body fat calipers varied by as little as 1.1%.
To measure your body fat with calipers, all it takes is a few simple steps. Depending on the body fat calculation method you choose, measurements can be performed solo or with a partner. If you’re looking for a simpler, non-caliper method, we recommend US Navy or Body Mass Index (BMI), which are built into FatCaliper+ for added convenience and flexibility. And if you’re unsure about which body fat calculation method to use, check out the full list of options available in FatCaliper+.
Body Fat Caliper Procedures
To perform skinfold measurements with a body fat caliper, follow these 5 easy steps:
- Using the tips of your thumb and forefinger on one hand, pinch the skin in the location to be measured
- Once the skin is pinched, pull the skin away from the muscle
- With your opposing hand, measure the thickness of the skinfold with your calipers
- Note caliper reading, then release caliper and skinfold
- Proceed to the next measurement location and repeat these steps
Quick Tips for Improving Body Fat Caliper Accuracy
- For consistency, all measurement should be acquired from the right side of the body
- Body fat caliper should be placed approximately 1/4 inch, or 1 centimeter, away from the thumb and finger that is grasping the skinfold
- Body fat caliper should remain perpendicular to skinfold, and halfway between crest and base of fold
- When measuring skinfolds with a caliper, wait 1 to 2 seconds before reading caliper measurement
- Skinfold pinch should be maintained while reading the caliper
- Take duplicate measurements at each site to ensure accuracy – same-site measurements should vary by no more than 2 millimeters
- Before remeasuring, rotate through skinfold sites to allow time for skin to regain normal texture and thickness
If you’re new to measuring body fat with calipers, this guide should have up to speed in no time. After a little practice, you’ll be calculating body fat like a pro. You may even want to consider regular body fat testing as part of your daily heath and fitness routine.
Body fat ratio is a significant balance of health which is considered more valuable and accurate than weight or weight record (BMI) alone. Body fat ratio is stored in the connective tissue known as fat tissue. You gain body fat if you eat a larger number of calories than your body utilizes, which raises your danger of obesity and perpetual infection, for example, coronary illness, stroke, diabetes, and joint inflammation.
Body fat is a helpful measurement to follow the advancement of an exercise and diet routine. Numerous tools for measuring body to fat ratio are accessible; however, these vary as far as affordability, access, and precision. Among these, body fat ratio calipers are a generally accessible alternative, however, can be dangerous to use to get specific results.
Body fat calipers don’t quantify body fat ratio. They are utilized to manage the “pinch test,” which takes estimations of skin folds from three to ten points on the body. That information is then connected to an equation to calculate your body fat ratio. The accuracy of skinfold calipers for estimating body fat ratio relies upon both the experience of the person utilizing the calipers and the equation used to calculate the outcomes.
The caliper technique—which you can figure out how to do yourself—measures skin folds and places those estimations into an equation. The equation will at that point let out an expected body fat ratio. Those equations can likewise decide your fat weight and lean mass weight.
Depending upon the type of equation you use, you’ll get skin folds on different areas of your body. It very well may be hard to pinch yourself and analyzed the caliper simultaneously. That is the reason I prescribe getting a certified expert to do your body fat estimation when using a body fat caliper. If you don’t have any problem then take the help of your friend and figure out how to measure each other’s body fat ratio utilizing this article as your guide or refer Body Fat caliper user manual.
For everyone, I want to suggest the Jackson and Pollock equation (truly, that is its name). This equation can be used in three-site, four-site, and seven-site tests. For people who carry more body fat ratio than the majority of the people, I favor the four-site Durnin and Womersley framework. For fit weight lifters, I utilize the nine-site Parillo condition. Even though you’re in no way, shape, or form restricted to utilizing one of these recipes, they appear to work the best and are the most generally utilized.
Every one of these procedures is based upon genuinely complex numerical conditions that take the completeness of the caliper calculations and apply them to a consistent. Except if you’re truly into math, how the equations work doesn’t generally make a difference. What’s essential to remember is consistency. Pick a test, pick a method, and stick with it to achieve the desired outcome!
If you use a different equation and generally will get a different outcome. If you utilize an alternate caliper, you can get an alternate outcome. if you measure seven focuses rather than three yet at the same time utilize a similar caliper and instructions, you can get various outcomes.
Your decision of method or the characteristics of your calipers is substantially less significant than getting reliable numbers. Regardless of whether your body fat is 8 percent or 10 percent doesn’t make a difference. What is important is that you see improvement.The strategy is significant when utilizing calipers to take skinfold calculations.
Follow the given steps to know how to use body fat caliper:
1. Take estimations on the correct side of the body.
2. After that, Grab a fold of skin and utilize the caliper to quantify thickness to the closest 0.5mm by analyzing the evaluation dial.
3. Then, Hold calipers opposite to the skinfold.
4. The estimation purpose of the skinfold ought to be most of the way along the length of the overlay.
5.Accepting estimations (ACSM technique)
1. Take two readings and if they’re not inside 1-2mm of one another, at that point retake
2. Record estimations when 2 back to back qualities are inside 1-2 mm and take the normal
There are more than 100 distinct methods out there. Every condition identifies with various people, ages, and logotypes that lean the measurable standard yield. To find out How accurate are Body Fat calipers, It’s ideal to utilize an equation that all the more intently coordinates your profile.
It’s additionally important that you don’t need to change over your skinfold estimations to a body fat scale by any stretch. Rather you can simply choose the progressions in skinfold estimations at different body areas.
Likewise, note that there are numerous best body fat digital calipers available in the market that will take your estimations and give your body fat ratio scale naturally.
After working hard and following a healthy diet, it is frustrating to see no changes when you step on the scale. However, weigh less is not the most important thing. It is not a wonder to find someone who looks overweight, but he or she is healthier than a slim person. It is the percentage of body fat that matters. You can use the best body fat caliper to measure how much you have in the body.
Using a Caliper At Home to Measure Fat
The best thing about a fat caliper is that you can learn how to use at home. This tool measures skin folds, and the measurements are put into a formula. This formula gives an estimated percentage of your body fat. Besides, the formula can be used to determine lean mass and fat weight.
How Do The Best Fat Calipers Work?
The body fat calipers are not a tool to measure fat in the body directly. They are used to do the “pinch test” that takes skinfold measurements ranging from three up to ten points on the body. The information is used with a formula to get the percentage of your body fat. The accuracy is determined by the formula used and experience of the person doing the test.
Before you start following a fitness program, it is advisable to get your body fat percentage. Keep the information in your training journal to help you track from your progress. The recommended range of healthy fat differs according to age, gender, and level of fitness. A woman with over 32% of body fat and a man with over 26% are obese.
Types of Fat Calipers
There are various types of capers in the market for consumers. If you want to do it at home, you must buy one. Good quality calipers will cost up to a few hundred dollars, but it is possible to find some low priced ones. Sometimes if the caliper is low quality, it doesn’t exert enough pressure to give adequate control over tension and leads to unreliable results.
Some of the common types of calipers include Lafayette Skinfold Calipers, Harpenden Skinfold Calipers, Lange Calipers, Accu-Measure Body Fat Calipers, and Slim Guide Skinfold Calipers.
Best Parts to Take Your Measurements
Once you have your best caliper and ready to take the measurements. You need to identify the locations to take the pinches. Some of the best parts to use when looking for measure skinfolds include:
Triceps: You should bend your elbow to 90-degrees angle. Use your caliper to measure a vertical fold while your arm is the same position. In this position, the arm is usually hanging naturally on your side.
Bicep: The arms should be extended naturally for you to take a vertical fold the best parts are the between the shoulder and elbow’s crook and at the front of your arm.
Subscapular: Take the measurements diagonally while holding your calipers at an angle of 45 degrees. The best part is across your back or below your shoulder. With this, you need some assistance as you can reach the back part comfortably.
Thigh: This one is easy; a vertical fold while standing will be the best. Take a skinfold midway between the crease close to where your hip and the thigh meet and your kneecap.
Iliac Crest: You should fold your right arm across your body. Take a horizontal pinch just slightly above your hip bone.
Abdominal: The abdomen is the home of most fat in the body. Measurement in this area should be vertical fold about one inch on the right side of your navel.
Calf: The foot should be resting on a platform at an angle of 90 degrees. You take a measurement using a vertical fold on the inner part of the calf where it has the biggest circumference.
Chest: You should take a diagonal fold on the pectoral area. Measure the fold between pectoral muscle at your armpit and the nipple.
Axilla: This is on the side of your chest, and you should take a vertical fold. It has to be just below the middle of your armpit, but perpendicular your nipple.
These are just some of the parts that come in handy when using a caliper to measure body fat at home. Just get yourself the best body fat caliper.
FatCaliper+ uses the most accurate body fat measurement methods on the planet. Each method requires complex calculations to achieve reliable results. Choose between fat caliper and tape-based methods – whichever is convenient for you.
Body fat caliper methods require the use of a simple and inexpensive pair of body fat calipers and a bathroom scale. Depending on the calculation formula, some methods may require a bathroom scale and a tape measure.
Based on the research of Dr. Andrew Jackson and M. L. Pollock, this formula uses chest, abdomen, and thigh skinfold test results for males; and tricep, thigh, and suprailiac skinfold test results for females to calculate body fat. The Jackson-Pollock 3 formula is one of the more popular body fat caliper methods for it’s ease of use, especially for an individual taking their own body fat measurements.
Learn more about the Jackson-Pollock 3 body fat calculation method.
Based on the research of Dr. Andrew Jackson and M. L. Pollock, this body fat caliper method uses abdominal, tricep, thigh and suprailiac skinfold test results for both males and females to calculate body fat.
Learn more about the Jackson-Pollock 4 body fat calculation method.
Based on the research of Dr. Andrew Jackson and M. L. Pollock, this formula uses chest, axila, tricep, subscapular, abdominal, suprailiac and thigh skinfold test results for both males and females to calculate body fat.
Learn more about the Jackson-Pollock 7 body fat calculation method.
The Durnin-Womersley calculation is among the more popular fat caliper methods. Developed by Durnin and Womersley, this method uses tricep, bicep, subscapular, suprailiac skinfold test results for both males and females to calculate body fat.
Learn more about the Durnin-Womersley body fat calculation method.
Based on the research of Yuhasz, this formula uses tricep, subscapular, supraspinale, abdominal, thigh and calf skinfold test results for both males and females to calculate body fat.
Learn more about the Yuhasz body fat calculation method.
The Parillo fat caliper method uses chest, abdominal, thigh, bicep, tricep, subscapular, suprailiac, lower back and calf skinfold test results combined with body weight for both males and females to calculate body fat. Despite being easy to perform, this very basic formula has questionable accuracy because its calculations do not take into account the differences between males and females.
Learn more about the Parillo body fat calculation method.
Developed by the US Department of Defense, this formula uses height, and girth of neck and abdominal for males; and height and girth of neck, waist and hip for females to calculate body fat.
Learn more about the US Navy body fat calculation method.
Developed exclusively for FatCaliper+ users who are looking for a quick, easy and accurate calculation method that can be performed solo, our proprietary 3-site formula utilizes abdomen, thigh, and suprailiac skinfolds measurements for both males and females to calculate body fat.
We’ve analyzed hundreds of test subjects and reverse engineered more than a dozen body fat formulas to build this highly accurate and extremely easy to use calculation method. We think you’ll enjoy.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a measure of body composition. For both males and females, BMI is calculated using height and weight. Generally the higher the calculation, the more overweight you are. Like any of these types of measurements, BMI is only an indication of body mass, and other issues such as body type and shape have an impact as well. Remember, BMI is just a guide and does not accurately apply to elderly populations, pregnant women or very muscular athletes like weight lifters.
NOTE: In the current version of FatCaliper+, BMI calculations are automatically displayed as part of the results of all body fat calculation methods. It is also included as a standalone calculation method within FatCaliper+.
Learn more about the BMI body fat calculation method.
Body Fat Formulas on FatCaliper+
The free version of FatCaliper+ comes with the Jackson-Pollock 3 and BMI body fat formulas. The full version of FatCaliper+ also comes with advanced body fat formulas, including Jackson-Pollock 4, Jackson-Pollock 7, Durnin-Womersley, Yuhasz, Parillo, US Navy and the FatCaliper+ method. BMI is automatically calculated as part of all body fat measurement methods.
How and Why To Measure Your Body Fat Percentage Using Calipers
Monitoring your body composition is important when dieting, especially for athletes, as relying only on your weight doesn’t tell you how much of your weight loss is fat (good) and how much is muscle (bad).
The skinfold test, using calipers, involves measuring the thickness of subcutaneous fat at specific sites on your body and is widely used by fitness professionals to estimate both body density, body fat and lean body mass (or LBM).
The method isn’t foolproof; body fat estimations based on skinfold tests have about a 3.5 percent standard error rate, according to the American Council on Exercise. But its relative accuracy makes it a valuable assessment tool.
How To Measure Your Body Fat Percentage using calipers
Hold the calipers using your right hand with your thumb on the upper arm (marked press) and your index finger on the lower arm of the calipers. Now follow these instructions.
Note: You can take measurements on yourself but this isn’t easy, it’s better to get someone to take them for you. It is important that the measurements are always taken by the same person, in the same body location (called a landmark) and at the same time of day.
- Take all measurements on the right side of the body
- Make sure the muscle group being assessed is relaxed
- Grab a fold of skin between your thumb and index finger
- Hold calipers over and perpendicular to the skinfold
- The measurement point of the skinfold should be half way along length of fold
- Press the lever marked “press” until it clicks into place, this will ensure you exert the correct pressure
- Read the thickness of the skinfold on the caliper dial (some calipers must be held in place while you read the values, others have a slider that remembers the reading until they are reset, these are ideal if you are measuring yourself)
- To ensure accuracy take two readings on the same landmark and if they’re not within 1-2mm of each other then re measure. Once the 2 readings are within 1-2 mm then take the average
Landmarks for 7-Site Skin Fold Test
|A – Abdomen||Take a vertical skinfold 2cm to the right of the belly button|
|B – Chest||take a diagonal skinfold (45 degree angle) half way between the nipple and outer chest (anterior axillary line)|
|C – Midaxillary||Can use vertical or horizontal skinfold (always use the same orientation) on the midaxillary line (down the side of the torso)|
|D -Subscapular||Take a diagonal skinfold measured 1-2 cm below the shoulder blade|
|E – Suprailiac||Take a slightly slanted skinfold just above the iliac crest (side of body above the pelvis)|
|F – Thigh||Take a vertical skinfold in the midline of the right thigh. Bodyweight should be shifted to the left foot.|
|G – Triceps||Take a vertical fold on the back of the upper arm, halfway between the elbow and top of shoulder.|
Landmark positions for 7-Site Skin Fold Test
Once you have these values you can calculate the following metrics
- Body fat percentage
- Body fat in weight
- Lean body weight
There are numerous ways to calculate these metrics, the one I recommend is the 7 point Jackson/Pollock method, you can use the free body fat calculator here
Categories of Body Fat Percentage
Now you have your body fat percentage value you can see how compares with this categorization from the American Council on Exercise:
|Essential fat||10% to 12%||2% to 4%|
|Athletes||14% to 20%||6% to 13%|
|Fitness||21% to 24%||14% to 17%|
|Acceptable||25% to 31%||18% to 25%|
|Obese||32% or higher||26% or higher|
You should repeat this test every week or every other week to see effective your diet is in reducing your body fat.