BODY FAT CALCULATOR

Body Fat Ratio

Measurement - Metric / Imperial
Body Fat:

0

To perform the calculation please fill out the form on the left and click "calculate".

Body Fat Calculator

Understanding your percentage body fat can allow you to better understand your body composition and assist you in monitoring your progress. It is commonplace to use regular weighing scales to assess your progress, however if you are participating in regular exercise and monitoring your diet you may notice that the numbers do not quite add up!

Welcome - muscle mass! It may or may not be a surprise to you that muscle weighs more than fat. A simple explanation for your weighing scale result is that you are in fact shedding fat but gaining lean muscle mass.

How To Use This Calculator

Some online body fat calculators will give you a result based on measurements such as height and weight. These calculators can therefore, only provide you with a rough estimate of your body fat percentage. Our Body Fat Ratio Calculator uses a more specific measurement which consists of your height and waist measurements. It is known as Waist to Height Ratio. (1)

The Waist to Height Ratio calculation assesses how much fat you carry around your midsection, in proportion to your height. Excess stomach fat is a risk factor for the development of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Even if you have a healthy BMI (which you can check with a BMI calculator), if you have excess stomach fat, you may still be at risk for these health issues.

To use our calculator, we will need your height, weight, age, gender and waist measurement. We use this information to calculate your waist to height ratio. We then work out your Body Fat Ratio Percentage via a calculation and compare it to predetermined parameters outlined below. (2)

 

Men

Women

Categorisation

Action Needed

>63%

>58%

Obese

Caution

53-62%

>49-57%

Overweight

Desirable

43-52%

42-48%

Healthy weight

Undesirable

<43%

<42%

Underweight

 

What Is Body Fat?

It is important to note that dietary fat and body fat are different. Although fat is derived from food and stored in adipose tissue throughout the body, the amount of fat you eat in your diet does not directly correlate to your body fat percentage. Body fat is important to our overall health and wellbeing. Body fat can be classified as one of three categories:

  • Essential Body Fat – The amount you need to protect your internal organs, help you absorb vitamins which facilitates a healthy immune system and creates an environment suitable to fight off disease and infection.

  • Reserve Body Fat – An additional amount of body fat that acts as a reservoir of ‘fuel’ for the body and does not pose any medical risks.

  • Excess Body Fat – Above the level of reserve body fat, excess fat can increase your risk of strokes, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart attacks.

What Are the Different Types of Body Fat?

There are three main types of fat - white, brown and beige. Collectively they make up adipose tissue.

  • White fat
    White fat cells are large cells with one large fat droplet. White fat is important for energy storage and generation as well as a layer of protection for your skeleton and organs.

  • Brown fat
    Brown fat is primarily found in babies, but adults retain some brown fat in their necks and shoulders. It burns fatty acids which produces heat and keeps you warm. Brown fat cells are smaller than white fat cells and contain many small fat droplets.

  • Beige (Brite) fat
    Beige (or brite) fat cells function somewhere between brown and white fat cells, and they can help burn, rather than store, fat.

    Fat is stored in three different ways - as essential, subcutaneous, or visceral fat.

  • Essential fat
    You need essential fat for your brain and organs to be able to function effectively. It is found in your bone marrow, brain, nerves, and the membranes that surround and protect your organs. It also helps with vitamin absorption, temperature regulation, and fertility. Essential fat, in general, is 3% of total body mass for men and 12% of total body mass for women.

  • Subcutaneous Fat
    Subcutaneous fat is stored beneath the dermis of the skin and is a combination of white, beige, and brown fat cells. In general, the distribution of this fat is influenced by gender. Men are likely to store fat around the chest, abdomen and buttocks, while women carry fat on the breast, hips, waist and bottucks. The difference in fat distribution is influenced by the sex hormones; oestrogen and testosterone.

  • Visceral Fat
    Visceral fat is often known as ‘belly fat’ because it is the white fat stored around your stomach, and surrounds your heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and intestines. Too much visceral fat increases your risk of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and artery disease.

Why Measure Body Fat?

Body Fat measurement can facilitate your understanding of your body and what it requires based on your age and gender. It is well known that a high body fat percentage is associated with a higher risk of certain diseases but also a low body fat percentage can be detrimental to overall health and wellbeing. Understanding your body fat can help you set targets suitable for your lifestyle.

Different Ways to Measure Body Fat

There are several methods to measure body fat percentage, however, reliable methods of measurements often require trained personnel to operate equipment and interpret the data which is often inaccessible and expensive.

  • Our Body Fat Ratio Calculator
    The calculator above is based on the reliable Waist to Height Ratio.

  • Skin Callipers
    Skin calliper measurements is a popular and well-known method  but it is commonly misused. The correct collection of measurements requires precision, skill and the appropriate preparation and use of equipment. It works by assuming that 50% of the body's fat lies beneath the skin. The practitioner will take a series of measurements at precise points on the body and use the results in a predetermined calculation to get results.

  • DeXA Scanning
    DeXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scanning is considered the gold standard of body fat calculation. It is a method used often for clinical reasons or for research. It is an expensive method and requires specialised training. DeXA utilises a minuscule dose of ionising radiation to create internal pictures of the body. It requires special beam filtering and a particular scanning set-up. In addition to body fat calculations, DeXA is primarily used for bone density testing.

  • Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA)
    Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) requires an individual to stand on a weighing scale type machine. It passes a weak electric current through the body via the feet and hands. The voltage is then measured to calculate the resistance of the body. This resistance is known as impedance. BIA machines are popular in gyms and health centres as they are accessible and easy to use.

  • Hydrostatic Weighing
    Hydrostatic weighing, also known as ‘underwater weighing,’. Subjects are lowered into a water tank until they fully emerge in water. The aim is to determine the density of the body. The process is repeated and calculations are used to determine body fat percentage. This equipment is expensive and required specialist training to operate.

What is the average body fat percentage?

The table outlines the average body fat for the general population based on age and gender. (3)

Age

Up to 30

30- 50

50+

Females

14 - 21%

15 - 23%

16- 25%

Males

9 - 15%

11 - 17%

12 - 19%

 

What is a healthy body fat percentage?

How much body fat is a healthy body fat for you will be determined by factors such as, age, and gender. The table below outlines the classification of body fat percentage for males and females. Body Fat is categorised as essential, athletic, good, acceptable, overweight and obese. (3)

Males

Females

Rating

3%

12%

Essential

5-10%

8-15%

Athletic

11-14%

16-23%

Good

15-20%

24-30%

Acceptable

21-24%

31-36%

Overweight

>24%

>37%

Obese

 

How to Calculate Body Fat

As detailed above in the “Different Ways to Measure Body Fat” section, there are four well known methods  to calculate body fat; Skin callipers, Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, Hydrostatic Weighing and DeXA Scanning.

How to Lose Body Fat

Generally during the process of desirable weight loss we may change our eating habits and increase our activity or exercise. Often the goal is to lose body fat and depending on the type of exercise you may increase lean muscle mass. Below are some helpful strategies to help you decrease your body fat percentage.

  • Create a calorie deficit - The fundamental of any weight or fat loss program is ensuring you are consuming less calories than you are burning. Although there are reference daily allowances (RDAs) of 2500 kcal a day for men and 2000 kcal for women, the amount of calories you need will vary based on your age, gender, height and weight. Use our Macronutrient Calculator to find out how many calories you need to reach your goal.

  • Strength or resistance training – Lifting weights will help you to increase your muscle mass and burn more calories, even when you are at rest. Use a 1 Rep Max calculator to ensure that you are getting the most from your workouts. 

  • Increase protein intake – Protein is satiating macronutrient, meaning it helps keep you feel fuller for longer. Good sources of protein include eggs, meat, fish, beans and lentils. Use our Macronutrient Calculator to find out how much protein you require to reach your goal.

  • Move More - Increasing your activity will burn calories. Take the stairs or get off the bus one stop early. Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day. Most smartphones have a built in pedometer for you to track your progress.

  • Snack wisely - Regular smart snacking is a good opportunity to increase nutrient intake and will help keep you satisfied between main meals. Snack on fruit and vegetables to ensure you are getting your 5 a day. Smoothies, rice cakes and popcorn are all nutritious and balanced snacks.

Risks of Disease If Overweight / Obese

Globally, over 1.9 billion adults are considered overweight (approximately 39% of the global adult population, of whom 650 million are considered obese (approximately 13% of the global adult population. (4) There are many risks to good health associated with being overweight and obese. Those who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, certain types of cancer, diabetes and depression.

FAQs

Here are some of the most common FAQs about fat in the body.

  • How Does Fat Leave the Body?
    Fat does not leave the body but is stored usually in the form of triglycerides in the adipose tissue. Fat is then converted by metabolic processes when the body requires energy.

  • How Does the Body Burn Fat?
    Glucose (from carbohydrates) is the primary source of energy in the body however, when glucose is unavailable the body converts fat to energy in the form of glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty acids are carried by the bloodstream to the liver and converted into glucose.

  • Why Is Fat Important in the Body?
    Fat is the body's largest source of stored energy. Fat plays a vital role surrounding and insulating the organs. Hormones and cholesterol are also secreted from fat cells. Vitamins A D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning they rely on fat to store and utilise them when necessary. Fat intake can also change hormone secretion, for example, testosterone (for muscle growth), insulin (for blood sugar control and oestrogens (for sex hormone levels).

  • How Do Scales Measure Body Fat?
    Many digital home weighing scales now include bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). As described above; BIA requires an individual to stand on a weighing scale type machine. It passes a weak electric current through the body via the feet and hands. The voltage is then measured to calculate the resistance of the body. This resistance is known as impedance. The result given to the user is usually in the form of body fat percentage.

References

1. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177175&type=printable

2. https://prowellness.childrens.pennstatehealth.org/family/nutrition/healthy-you/

3. https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/normal-ranges-of-body-weight-and-body-fat

4.  4. World Health Organization (2020) Obesity and overweight [Internet]. Available from: <https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight>.