What method do you recommend to measure body fat?
Asked by mamacassie on Sep 06, 2009
in Weight Loss
I am 27 years old, 5'5" and I weighed 150 lbs at my last doctors appointment. Yet, I wear a size 5. I am medium build and caucasian. I would suspect that I have pretty dense bones, as osteoporosis does not run in my family, and I have never broken any bones, through several injuries in impact sports. I would also consider myself athletic. SO with all of that information, according to the BMI, I am overweight. I really am not a fan of the BMI scale, because it doesn't take into accout all of the factors that I listed. I would really like to know, which method of body fat testing you would recommend (needs to be economical). What percentage is considered healthy for me (women in childbearing years, possibly getting pregnant in a year)?
For low cost and practicality, nothing beats skinfold measurements for assessing body fat. Get measured by someone who is trained and experienced in using the calipers and interpreting the results. Bioelectrical impedance scales are popular - but often inaccurate. The readings are under the influence of hydration, water retention, food intake, skin temperature, age, and other factors. To increase the reliability (but not the accuracy), use the scale under similar conditions. For your gender and age, optimal percentage of body fat is 20 - 28 percent. An athlete may have less but never under 16 percent. Your current Body Mass Index (BMI) of 24.5 shows that you are at a healthy weight. I believe your BMI is accurate for a muscular athlete with dense bones.