# Body Fat – Measuring and Monitoring

With so many diets and fads today, it is no wonder why people are confused about weight loss and health. In fact, some people are actually harming their body. One of the aspects of dieting seen most often is the reduction or elimination of fat. However, the body needs a certain amount of fat to function properly. The key is keeping the intake of fat to a healthy level. Knowing the right level and the proper way to monitor it are crucial to your health and wellness.

Studies now link certain conditions to include heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure with high levels of body fat. For this, you want to ensure your body has enough fat to function properly but not so much that disease could become a problem. The best way to determine the level of body fat is to know the Body Mass Index or BMI. By knowing and monitoring the BMI, you can maintain optimal health. The fascinating thing is that a person might be thin but have a high BMI or a heavy person could have a low BMI. Therefore, the outside appearance is not a good indicator.

To determine body fat, you could use a body fat analyzer. While different healthcare experts recommend different levels of body fat, a good rule to follow is for a man, he should maintain a level between 18% and 25% whereas a woman should have a range from 21% to 36%. To determine your BMI, you can use an online calculator or a simple formula such as the following:

•BMI = Weight in pounds x 704.5 / height in inches (twice)
oFor example, a person weighing 195 pounds who is 5’6” would have a BMI of 31.5. This would be calculated as 195 x 704.5=1,373,775 / 66=2,081.5 / 66=31.5.

Remember, BMI considers weight and height. However, BMI will not provide percentage of your body fat. Therefore, if you had a BMI of 31.5, you would not necessarily have 31.5% body fat. However, this would allow you to compare the number against a standard BMI chart, thus giving a good indication of your levels.

If the BMI were to fall below 18.5, you would be considered underweight but if the BMI were between 25 and 30, you would be considered overweight. Now, if the BMI were higher than 31, you would fall within the obese category. The one problem with BMI is that since it does not consider age, sex, or level of activity, it is not completely accurate. However, the BMI would provide you with an indicator.

If you are interested in losing weight, instead of depending on the bathroom scale, it is important that you determine your body fat level. From there, you can monitor it, making sure it falls within the safe range for your particular body. Just remind yourself that with a standard scale, in addition to fat being weighed, so is muscle, bones, and any food or liquid consumed.

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