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Knowledge of your body fat composition can help you adopt the right strategies that can help put you on the quickest way to lose weight
Your attempt to lose weight quickly can be greatly hampered by inadequate knowledge. The success or failure of any weight loss strategies you decide to pursue can be determined by a number of factors. One of such factors is your body fat composition or body fat percentage. Knowing your body fat composition can give you many pointers that can help you with your effort to lose weight fast.
The body composition is a measure of the amount of fat, bone and muscle your body is carrying. By dividing your total body fat with your total body mass you will be able to know how much fat you have to lose to give you the body of your dreams and to enable you to stay healthy.
Some weight loss programs might want you to get rid of all body fat. However this is not the way to go. This is because your body needs some amount of body fat to enable it to carry out the functions expected of it. The availability of body fat is necessary to protect internal body organs, such as the abdomen and the chest. In addition, women need more fat to help with such functions as child-birth.
Generally, women are expected to carry more body fat than men. The average woman may carry between 8-15% of important body fat, while the average man may be expected to have between 3-5% of body fat.
The body fat percentage is calculated with no reference to your body weight or height and it is a good indicator of your level of fitness. However, age and sex has a big bearing on the amount of body fat a person has. The level of physical activity a person is engaged in can also have an influence on your body fat composition.
The American Council on Exercise publishes the table below to show the differences average body fat composition for various groups
Percent Body Fat Norms for Men and Women
Source: The American Council on Exercise
As seen from the table, women need a higher percentage of essential body fat than men. Having a body fat percentage lower than the stated levels could have a negative impact on both your physiological and physical health. However, whether a particular level of body fat is better than the other, and, which level is best for your health is subject for debate.
Techniques for measuring your body fat composition
As seen in our previous article, the body fat a person is carrying can be estimated by using the BMI or Body Mass Index. It is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres. In case your weight and height are measured in pounds and inches respectively, then the result of the division can be multiplied by 703 to get the same body mass index.
The BMI is one of the most popular and widely used means to measure body composition. The BMI however has limitations. It doesn’t take into consideration the amount of body fat one is carrying. Thus, to find the body mass composition of the person, further analysis using formulae put forward by Deurenberg and co-workers is employed. The formulae takes into consideration the age, sex and the BMI of a person to determine the body fat percentage. We have given the formulae below in case you are interested in calculating your own body fat percentage:
Child body fat % = (1.51 × BMI) − (0.70 × Age) − (3.6 × sex) + 1.4
Adult body fat % = (1.20 × BMI) + (0.23 × Age) − (10.8 × sex) − 5.4; where adult is 15 years and over
where sex is 1 for men and 0 for women.
We would like to point out that even though BMI has limitations, it is probably the one that is most widely used by health professionals. Aside giving an indication of the amount of body fat a person may be carrying, it can also give an indication of the possibility of developing health problems as a result of carrying excess weight.
For example, you are regarded as being obese if you are an adult and your BMI is 30 and over. New guidelines issued in July 2013, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to south Asian and Chinese adults recognises the higher risk of type 2 diabetes in these societies. People from such societies, blacks and other minority groups are all advised to keep their BMI below the recommended standard score of 25
If you find yourself falling outside any of these categories, you are regarded as being at high risk with respect to such health problems as type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart diseases etc. Taking the necessary steps to put yourself on the quickest way to lose weight may bring significant improvement in your health.
Calipers on skinfold
It is also known as the pinch test or sixfold test. It involves using calipers to measure a pinch of skin at specified points on the body. The method helps to determine the thickness of fat under the skin.
The skinfold test is regarded by many as a very intrusive way of determining the body fat composition. It also requires specialist training to be carried out properly, in spite of the fact that calipers are quite cheap to buy.
Waist measurement or Weight circumference
It is probably the simplest and also the least intrusive. It is measured by taking the circumference of a person’s waist. It is a known fact that most people tend to gain excess weight through the accumulation of fat around the waist. The waist and hip measurement is therefore used as an effective tool that can be used effectively to determine whether the amount of fat around a person’s abdomen has reached a level that could make it possible for the person to get any of such diseases as those associated with the heart, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.
The accumulation of fat around the hips and buttocks in the case of women, and, around the belly in the case of men, is one of the major concerns of many health professionals. As stated above the collection of fat around these areas can lead to the development of various diseases and health problems known to be associated with obesity. Generally the risk to men with waist measurement in excess of 40 inches and women with waist measuring more than 35 inches is said to be high as a result of their fat distribution.
The above given figures may not apply to everyone. As a result of recent findings, the World Health Organization recommends lower thresholds of 31 inches for Asian women and 35 inches for Asian men.
Other ways of measuring body fat composition
It is used to measure the structure of tissue. It measures the thickness of fat under the skin and is recognized for its level of accuracy.
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry or DXA
This method is quite new. It involves the use of x-rays to determine the body fat composition. The procedure helps to determine a person’s bone mineral density together with the body composition.
Body fat composition and the quickest way to lose weight
Measuring an exact body fat composition may require the use of more than one method to enable you to effectively put together a weight loss strategy that can help you lose weight fast. Monitoring your weight, BMI, waist circumference and even your clothes size on a regular basis, ideally on a monthly basis, can all help you determine how successful your weight loss effort is.
Tip: Cleanse your body of all poisonous toxins with an all-natural body cleanser to help put you on the quickest way to lose weight
Your effort to lose weight quickly will always depend upon your diet and the level of physical activity you are undertaking. By following a healthy diet and adopting the proper exercise regime, you will be taking the necessary steps to lay the foundation to put yourself on the quickest way to lose weight. How much weight you are able to lose will often depend upon your ability to pursue the above. Setting very realistic targets will also help to keep your effort to lose weight quickly on track.