Body fat testing checks how much body fat you have. It may be done to find out if you have too much or too little body fat.
The test is one of the ways to measure healthy weight.
People who are trying to become more fit and lose weight sometimes use the test to check for changes in their body fat levels.
There are several ways to estimate body fat. The easiest and most popular ways to test are not as accurate as more expensive methods.
The least expensive and most popular tests include:
More accurate tests are usually done only at universities and research facilities. They include:
Experts have different opinions. But generally, healthy body fat is considered to be:
Your age, sex, and activity level will also affect your percentage of body fat. For example, endurance runners have less body fat than swimmers.
But body fat percentage is not the best way to measure your risk for weight-related diseases.
Your doctor may also suggest checking your BMI (body mass index), your waist size, and your waist-to-hip ratio. Your waist-to-hip ratio is a comparison of your waist size to your hip size. A higher BMI, waist size, and waist-to-hip ratio means that you are at higher risk for weight-related disease.
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Current as of: October 9, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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