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TOPIC: Body Fat Percentage

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April 14, 2012 8:17 AM
I'm sharing what I have posted on two threads yesterday in regards to Body Fat percentage.

I own both a body fat scale and Omron handheld monitor and I trust both of them. Some people are against a body fat scale and Omron Handheld Monitor, they feel that these devices aren't accurate, which all devices aren't 100% accurate, the only thing that's said to be 100% accurate is an autopsy and no one will find out their true body fat percentage then.

Some people think that the body fat scale or Omron handheld aren't accurate, because they have read online or have been told that the Bod Pod, Dunk Test and Dexa Scan are accurate devices. These people probably have gotten tested on a body fat scale or used an Omron handheld body fat monitor and their body fat percentage number was different from the number they have gotten from a Bod Pod test, Dunk Test or Dexa Scan test.

A Dexa Scan Test will give you a higher body fat percentage than the scale, Omron monitor, Bod Pod and Dunk Test, because it includes the fat in your brain, bones and organs.

I will list the margin errors according to this site: http://www.shapefit.com/body-fat-testing.html

Dexa Scan +/- 2-3% margin error (Cost $100)

Hydrostatic Weighing/Dunk Test +/-2-3% margin error. Accuracy depends on the amount of air a person expel. If all the air isn't blown out, the test will not be as accurate.

Bioelectrical Impedance (Body fat scale or handheld monitor). I'm quoting them here: "This method CAN be accurate (4% margin of error) but the results are affected by hydration, food intake and skin temperature. If you're dehydrated, you're body fat percentage will read higher than it is."

According to this site, the Bod Pod Test has a +/- 3% margin error: http://www.humanhealthspecialists.com/bodpod-body-fat-testing/bod-pod-faqs/



A body fat scale measures the lower half of the body and an Omron handheld body fat monitor measures the top half of the body. Both devices can give a person the same reading and guess what's the person's total body fat percentage is: Answer: The body fat percentage both devices gave the person.

For example if both the body fat scale and Omron handheld monitor gives a person a 35% body fat reading. Then that person's total body fat percentage is 35%, why? Because, 35 + 35 = 70 and 70/2 = 35.

It's possible that both devices can give different readings, but it doesn't mean that one of the devices didn't give the total body's body fat percentage or came close to it.

Example: The scale can read 35% and the Omron handheld can read 33%. 35 + 33 = 68 and 68/2 = 34. 34% falls between 33% and 35%.

Some people are top heavy and bottom small and some people are top small and bottom heavy, whatever device they use to measure their smaller half, the reading will be lower than the other device. For example, a woman that's small at the top and bottom heavy can have a top reading of 25% and bottom reading of 35%. Total body percentage: 25 + 35 = 60 and 60 /2 = 30

I've said all that to say, just because a Bod Pod test, Dunk Test or Dexa Scan has your body fat percentage at 30% and a body fat scale or Omron handheld monitor had your body fat percentage at 35% it doesn't mean the body fat percentage scale or Omron handheld monitor isn't right or close to the body fat percentage reading. Keep in mind, A Bod Pod Test, Dunk Test and Dexa Scan also have a +/- margin error.

If you want to pay to get a Bod Pod Test, Dunk Test or Dexa Scan test go for it, but if I can suggest something to you, I would suggest, the day before your testing or on the same day if possible, get your body fat percentage tested on a body fat scale and Omron handheld body fat monitor and add the percentages up and divide it by two to see what your percentage comes out to be. Compare the total body fat percentage number to the other test's number to see if they are the same or close. If they are the same or close, I think you should save your money and just focus on using a body fat scale, Omron handheld body fat monitor or both. If you own both, you will come out cheaper than spending money for those other tests, unless you just want to continue spending money on those other tests.
April 14, 2012 8:22 AM
I use my scale with bf % and measurement calculated bf % to monitor progress. I know those are probably not correct numbers, but mine are pretty consistently going down and I only use the actual numbers to make sure I'm not losing too much lean mass. I'll figure out actual numbers when I'm where I think I want to be. :)
  9684357
April 14, 2012 8:23 AM
QUOTE:

the scales can be way off, so your BF% is probably not what it says you are, but as long as it is moving in the right direction you are making progress, regardless if the number is accurate or not.


I have mine measured at the gym every 1.5-2months (this is a possibility depending on what your gym offers...if they just use a scale like yours, there is no point). But I agree with the guy that posted the above: if your scale shows it going down, then that's a good sign.
  20547874
April 14, 2012 8:25 AM
The Navy method is pretty accurate, and you just need a tape measure... here is a website to show you what you need
http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator
  10811412
April 14, 2012 8:29 AM
Personally, I hate the body fat monitor at our gym. It is an Omron. When I put in all of my stats and my age (42) it says 21%. When I put my age as 21, same stats just different age, it says 17.5%.

So, I know that these should be a gauge, but the BF monitors are no fun as you get older!! If I keep this same body at age 52, 10 years older, I jump up another 2%....I know because I did it with the age 52! Very discouraging!
April 15, 2012 12:40 AM
I have 2 stand on monitors and a hand held. The 2 stand ons are 5% difference! So do I have more fat than I thought? 5% is quite a change :-(.

I have been using the one scale for 5 months and was disappointed when I hopped on the older scales to find out it increased by 5% so I haven't lost as much as I thought :-(
  10457481
April 15, 2012 12:51 AM
QUOTE:

I have 2 stand on monitors and a hand held. The 2 stand ons are 5% difference! So do I have more fat than I thought? 5% is quite a change :-(.

I have been using the one scale for 5 months and was disappointed when I hopped on the older scales to find out it increased by 5% so I haven't lost as much as I thought :-(


Are your 2 scales set to the same settings? Are both of them giving you the same weight? Which one of the scales is your handheld monitor's reading close to?
April 15, 2012 1:41 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I have 2 stand on monitors and a hand held. The 2 stand ons are 5% difference! So do I have more fat than I thought? 5% is quite a change :-(.

I have been using the one scale for 5 months and was disappointed when I hopped on the older scales to find out it increased by 5% so I haven't lost as much as I thought :-(


Are your 2 scales set to the same settings? Are both of them giving you the same weight? Which one of the scales is your handheld monitor's reading close to?


Yep. Both floor ones are set up the same and weight is similar. The hand held is closer to the old one unfortunately. Which means I am 35 percent body fat and not the 30 I thought I was :-(
  10457481
April 15, 2012 2:21 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I have 2 stand on monitors and a hand held. The 2 stand ons are 5% difference! So do I have more fat than I thought? 5% is quite a change :-(.

I have been using the one scale for 5 months and was disappointed when I hopped on the older scales to find out it increased by 5% so I haven't lost as much as I thought :-(


Are your 2 scales set to the same settings? Are both of them giving you the same weight? Which one of the scales is your handheld monitor's reading close to?


Yep. Both floor ones are set up the same and weight is similar. The hand held is closer to the old one unfortunately. Which means I am 35 percent body fat and not the 30 I thought I was :-(


I don't see why the scales are giving you a 5% different reading, if it's giving you the same weight. Do you use all three devices on weigh in days? Change the battery to see if it makes a difference. If it doesn't, then put that scale up and just go by the other scale and your handheld monitor.
April 15, 2012 6:35 AM
Because bio impedance is inaccurate. It has a close to 10% margin of error. That's why those scales are useless.
April 30, 2012 12:04 PM
At work, we have an Inbody 520 machine. It is not perfect, but is accurate enough to give consistent readings and allows us to make diet/training tweaks to ensure the least amount of muscle loss while cutting. The only problem is the machine costs $7-8,000... If you can find one of these, use it!

Also, the college I went to used to do hydrostatic weighing for a nominal fee. I'm not sure how common this is, but it is another example of the most accurate readings you can get.
Edited by Sokvichet On April 30, 2012 12:05 PM
March 25, 2013 3:49 PM
Thank you for the information.

I have had success with the Omron handheld. It was consistently within 1% of a hydrostatic (under water) reading. I have been getting the underwater reading at least once every 3 years or so. When I was training for Ironman, I had it done when I started training and then again just before my race. It was a great feeling. The calipers, underwater weighing and Omron handheld were all within 2-3%.

However - I have gained some weight since my race and I bought a new BF scale - the Aria which works with my fitbit. I have to compare it to to my handheld, but it does not have an athlete setting. I have been using the athlete setting on my handheld, which aligns well with the water weighing.

Its all relative and just another fun tool for us information geeks.
March 26, 2013 7:42 AM
QUOTE:

I'm sharing what I have posted on two threads yesterday in regards to Body Fat percentage.

I own both a body fat scale and Omron handheld monitor and I trust both of them. Some people are against a body fat scale and Omron Handheld Monitor, they feel that these devices aren't accurate, which all devices aren't 100% accurate, the only thing that's said to be 100% accurate is an autopsy and no one will find out their true body fat percentage then.


Why would an autopsy give a 100% accurate measurement of body fat?
March 26, 2013 7:46 AM
Do you have a Bod Pod anywhere near you? I live in Knoxville and just went in one a couple of weeks ago. My body fat % was much different than the body fat scale measurement that my dietician took for me. You should check out the Bod Pod---quick and easy! Mine ended up being 19.6 which was lower than I thought it would be.
  14952193
March 26, 2013 7:52 AM
Waste of time and money..... all you need is to know you're not losing strength while dieting (not much anyhow).... know your losing weight.. and watch the mirror.... If you look in the mirror and you think you need to lose more weight, and then a scan tells you you're the percentage you wanted to be, what are you going to do?

my calipers tell me 8% on a 7 point test.... i know thats BS and I know how to use em... I even tried to get the most fat I could and the highest reading i could make it was 10% which is still too low.... cheap calipers=cheap results...
Edited by astronomicals On March 26, 2013 7:53 AM
March 26, 2013 7:53 AM
I bought some calipers off of ebay for a couple of quid and you get the chart with it. My guestimation of myself was right though and i'm an average 30% at 142 pounds 5ft 4. Who wants to be average? ha. So Looks like its operation lose a stone and 10% body fat for me!
March 26, 2013 8:01 AM
I use a Bio Impedance, handheld monitor...I try use it once a month, in the am when I'm as empty as I'll be all day.
March 26, 2013 8:03 AM
QUOTE:

If you can get it/afford it, the immersion test for body fat % is the most accurate method out there. The next best is callipers, followed by the hand-held gizmos, then finally the scale that measures through the feet. My scale bf% goes up when I go down in weight. Figure that one out!


Tape measure?

The formulas for figuring BF% from a tape measure aren't particularly accurate in an ultimate sense, however changes in a relative sense are extremely accurate. While the formula telling you you are at 15% might be a bit off, if you lost 2.5 %, chances are that is quite accurate and on par with the best of the best other methods.
  12040936
March 26, 2013 8:07 AM
QUOTE:

The Navy method is pretty accurate, and you just need a tape measure... here is a website to show you what you need
http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator


I use the Navy method as well. I compared it to caliper measurements and the results were very similar. I also have a bio impedance scale that is mostly useless, giving me a bf of 17% on a good day.
March 26, 2013 8:10 AM
If the reading goes down and you measure consistently, then isn't that ok?

Unless there is a health issue and you really need the result for health reasons.

There are 2 main body fats, one is good old fashioned fat under your skin that we can all see easily when we look at our muffin tops bulging over our jeans.....

Another is known as VISCERAL fat. This is where fat cannot be seen, it wraps itself around your organs, and can cause serious health problems. If you diet and exercise you should reduce this visceral fat... It is usually visceral if you think you are thin but have % which seems high... YOURS is not high.

TOFI Thin Outside Fat Inside.

I am on intermittent fasting diet and that does seem to reduce visceral and normal fat as well as targetting very many health issues.

Look up 5:2 intermittent fasting - if you are intrigued!
  34083426
March 26, 2013 8:13 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

The Navy method is pretty accurate, and you just need a tape measure... here is a website to show you what you need
http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator


I use the Navy method as well. I compared it to caliper measurements and the results were very similar. I also have a bio impedance scale that is mostly useless, giving me a bf of 17% on a good day.


The Navy formula tends to be low for me.

The modified YMCA formula seems to give a more accurate result for me. The regular YMCA formula seems to be a middle ground of the two.

(I'd love to be at the 11% the Navy formula says I'm at, but chances are the 13% I get from the mYMCA formula is closer to reality).

Either way, the difference is pretty much just a matter of zero point, both change at almost exactly the same rate.
Edited by waldo56 On March 26, 2013 8:14 AM
  12040936
March 26, 2013 8:16 AM
QUOTE:

Waste of time and money..... all you need is to know you're not losing strength while dieting (not much anyhow).... know your losing weight.. and watch the mirror.... If you look in the mirror and you think you need to lose more weight, and then a scan tells you you're the percentage you wanted to be, what are you going to do?


I've sort of been thing the same thing about numbers lately. As long as there is fat showing or hanging, or something jiggles, I'm not quite there. I can see where athletes need this information for speed or things like that, though. I am recording how I obtained my BF% and will use the same online tool the next time I check it, just as one measure of progress. My clothes are probably the best indicator at the moment, though. : )

When I compare my body to other's online with similar builds, the fat2fit calculator seems to be more in line than the NAVY calculator, if anyone wants to try it out. http://www.fat2fitradio.com/tools/bf/ I like all their tools. You can enter your goal BF, current weight and height, and they will calculate what your body weight will likely need to be to get to your goal BF. Seems to me that lean muscle mass may affect this some, but I imagine it's close.
Edited by JoanB5 On March 26, 2013 8:28 AM
  34972993
March 26, 2013 8:42 AM
QUOTE:


Tape measure?

The formulas for figuring BF% from a tape measure aren't particularly accurate in an ultimate sense, however changes in a relative sense are extremely accurate. While the formula telling you you are at 15% might be a bit off, if you lost 2.5 %, chances are that is quite accurate and on par with the best of the best other methods.


I'm currently using the fat2fitradio.com body fat calculator (the Military one), but I think I'm going to plug my numbers into the Navy one this afternoon when I get home. I like that it asks for so many different measurements. Maybe I'll start using that one.

I don't really care what the actual number is right now. As long as the number goes DOWN, I'm a happy camper.

If you find it hard to get the measuring tape straight (especially with hip and waist measurements), invest in a Myotape. They're not expensive, and SO easy to use.
  2975304
March 26, 2013 9:43 AM
QUOTE:

If you can get it/afford it, the immersion test for body fat % is the most accurate method out there. The next best is callipers, followed by the hand-held gizmos, then finally the scale that measures through the feet. My scale bf% goes up when I go down in weight. Figure that one out!


The statistics I've seen rate DEXA as the most accurate

Your BF% could go up as you lose weight if you also lose muscle. It could be poor measurement, but if it's actually increasing you should probably tweak your diet and exercise plan.

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