Body fat is an important element in successful weight control. Body fat requires fewer calories than muscle. So the less fat/more muscle we have, the more calories we can eat before gaining weight. Body fat is often expressed as our "Body Fat Percentage" or "Body Fat Percent." Body fat percentage is the amount of body-fat-tissue as a percentage of total body weight. If your total body weight is 160 pounds and you have 32 pounds of fat, your body fat percentage is 20 percent.
Calculating Body Fat
Why Calculate Body Fat?
The higher your percentage of fat above average levels, the higher your health risk for weight-related illness, like heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. Also, the higher your percentage of fat (and the smaller your percentage of muscle) the less calories you need to maintain your weight and therefore the easier it is to gain weight. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue.
Accurate Ways to Calculate Body Fat
- Home Body Fat Scales
- Skinfold Calipers (Callipers)
- Hydrostatic Weighing