The body fat percentage test aims to distinguish between the content of each pound of body weight. It splits them into two categories: fat mass and non-fat mass (also called lean body mass). Lean body mass is made up of your bones, muscles, water, hair, etc. Everything else is considered fat mass.
Ways to measure body fat percentage
There are different ways to measure your body fat percentage. The most common method is the caliper test. It uses your measurements of the skin folds and calculates the body fat percentage based on a formula. It’s difficult to do alone. Consult a professional to get an accurate measurement. There are different formulae to use that require you to measure different skin folds. The Jackson and Pollock formula is used in most cases. For overweight people, the Durnin and Womersley system is used. It requires measuring skin folds in four places.
All the formulae are mathematically complex. And they will probably yield different results. It’s recommended that you choose one formula and stick to it. When you’ve calculated your body fat percentage, you can determine if your level is obese, acceptable, fit, or athletic.
What’s interesting is the fact that the body fat percentage has little to do with how much you weigh. A larger person may have a lower body fat percentage than a slender person. A higher body fat percentage indicates the need for a stricter diet and more exercise. It is recommended that you check your body fat percentage regularly to monitor any changes.