Body Fat Calculator

By Sindhu Koganti image Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh linkedin_icon Specialty: Ingredients & Nutrition Experience: 6 years

Sindhu Koganti is a Certified Health and Nutrition Life Coach and has over 6 years of experience in writing on health and wellness topics. She has a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from more

, BTech (Biotechnology), Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh  • 

Human body consists of almost 206 bones, 70% water content and 10-20% of body fat. This body fat provides energy to the human body. Excess anything is bad and therefore the body fat calculator is being considered to keep the body fat in the normal range between 10-20% of total body mass. Body Fat Calculator is a tool that estimate the body fat percentage by considering age, height, weight, hip,neck and waist.



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What is body fat?

Body fat is formed by Adipose tissues which are composed of small fat cells called Adipocytes (droplets of stored fat).

There are mainly three types of Adipose tissue found in the body namely, White Adipose tissue (WAT); Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT)
and Beige Adipose Tissue which are located around the organs, under the skins, around the neck, shoulders, nerve tissues and stored as an essential fat, subcutaneous and visceral fats. They are differentiated by their working properties, color, features and source.

White Adipose Tissue (WAT)

  • White Adipose tissue is found in human body in large content.
  • The diameter of these tissues, 50 to 150 µm (micrometer) is big compared to the other types of tissues viz, BAT and Beige.
  • This is a type of stored body fat from where body can use its energy as per requirement.
  • It helps in functioning the body’s hormones like Estrogen, Leptin, Insulin and growth hormone.

Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT)

  • It is mainly found in fetus, kids and new-born babies’ body.
  • Practically we found it very less in adult human body specially in neck and shoulder areas.
  • It is a size of average diameter of 10-25 µm (micrometer)
  • Mainly it provides heat to body by burning its fatty acid.

Beige Adipose Tissue

  • Beige Adipose Tissue is a newly researched area.
  • The color of this tissue is brownish as like BAT.
  • It also produces heat from tissues and provide energy.

The above types of tissues can be stored as Essential fat, Subcutaneous fat and Visceral fat in Human body.

Essential fat

Essential fat is very good stored fat in human body. Mainly it is essential for hormone regulation, vitamin absorption and other functional work. These types of fat mainly found in –

  • Central nervous system
  • Bone Marrow
  • Kidney
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Muscles
  • Intestine

Subcutaneous fat

  • Most of our body fats are subcutaneous fat.
  • It is found under the skin.
  • This type of fats is normally harmless. Sometimes it helps to protect the body from diseases.
  • WAT, BAT and Beige tissues lies in this type of fat group.
  • This is a kind of visible fat which is easily measured by calipers during estimating of total body fat percentage.

Visceral fat

  • It is well known by belly fat or tummy fat.
  • It is mainly stored around major organs like abdomen, pancreas, intestine, liver and abdominal cavity.
  • Higher level of visceral fat is harmful. It can cause stroke, type II diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.

How do I Calculate my Body fat percentage?

Technically body fat percentage or BFP is measured as total mass of fat divided by total body mass x 100. It is defined as a percentage of mass of fat on total body mass. BFP depends on the body type or fitness level of the person. For example, an athlete and a pregnant woman. An athlete BFP will be less than the pregnant woman. The woman derives extra energy from the body fat. Whereas the athlete derives extra energy from his fitness level like food habits, muscles and exercise. There are different methods to calculate body fat percentage. The common and most popular is BMI, i.e. Body Mass Index.

Here I am going to discuss about some important body fat percentage measurement method.

  1. Skinfold caliper
    • It is an oldest tool of measuring body fat percentage.
    • It measures the thickness of subcutaneous fat under the skin at some specific body areas.
    • Specific body areas vary among male and female.
    • For male, the areas are- chest, triceps, below the scapula.
    • For female the areas are- triceps, above the hip bone, thigh/abdomen.


    • It is affordable and easy to use.
    • It is very simple and quick process.


    • Not shows adequate accuracy level.
    • It requires adequate knowledge for handling.
  2. Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptionetry (DEXA SCANNING) :It is a method of full body dual x-ray from where we get detailed information about the body composition, bone density, lean body mass, and body fat percentage. It is done by lying the patient on an x-ray table for 10 minutes.


    • This is most accurate method with less error and provide all detailed information.


    • This method is most expensive.
    • It gives out x-ray radiation in the body however in a small amount.
  3. Body circumference measurement:It is a very simplest method of measuring body fat percentage. Everybody has a different body shape, weight and height. By measuring the specific body parts circumference, we can easily estimate the body fat. Here we can use neck and waist/hip measurement and put it in the measuring equation to find out ultimate result.


    • This method is simple, easy and affordable.
    • Tools are very cheap, portable and easily available.


    • Accuracy of this method is very low.
  4. Bioelectrical Impedance analysis :This is a method where electrical current is directly sent through a body. At first electrodes are placed on the skin, current is sent to the skin by some electrodes and remaining act as a receptor. current easily pass through muscle due to higher water content than fat. This process is mainly depending on current resistance of the body. The person with high muscle has more water content than a fatty person and have more chance to lower current resistant.


    • It is very easy to use and also portable.
    • Tools are easily available.


    • Accuracy level is not always accurate.
    • Result vary according to their food and fluid intake.


The American council on exercise has recommended body fat percentage as per below categories-

  • Women Category
Category Percentage
Essential fat 10-13%
Athletes 14-20%
Fitness 21-24%
Acceptable 25-31%
Obesity >32%
  • Men Category
Category Percentage
Essential fat 2-5%
Athletes 6-13%
Fitness 14-17%
Acceptable 18-24%
Obesity >25%

Ideal body fat percentage as recommended by Beth Israel Lahey health Winchester hospital are as follows:

  • Women Category
Age Percentage
20-39 21-32%
40-59 23-33%
60-79 24-35%
  • Men Category
Age Percentage
20-39 8-19%
40-59 11-21%
60-79 13-24%

Difference between body fat and BMI

Body fat means how much essential fat or stored fat lies in your body. But BMI is completely different. The full form of BMI is Body Mass Index, it is calculated by formula-

A person’s weight in kg is divided by height in meter squares. It determines whether the body is obese, underweight or healthy.

There is a range of BMI Classification. From 18-25 it denotes either your weight is normal, above normal or under weight according to your height.

The drawback of BMI is that it considers weight in general but ignores whether the weight is derived from the muscle.

Why measure body fat percentage?

  • Measuring body fat percentage ensure person’s fitness level, indicator of good health.
  • To avoiding some chronic health complication like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problem which happened due to too much body fat, so it is necessary.
  • By body fat percentage measurement, we know where we are standing on our fitness goal targeting pathway and make to set a goal for achieve it.

Normal fat percentage for men- 10-20%

Normal fat percentage for woman- 18-28%

Is Fat so bad?

Whenever we think about body fat, we think it is bad for health. However, body fat is needed as a recommended amount as per fitness and activity level.

If the recommended amount of particular’s body fat exceeds than it can cause detrimental for the body.

Body fat plays a vital role for maintaining body’s natural work.

  1. It acts like cushion, helps to protect our internal organ from trauma.
  2. A body uses energy from body fat. During physical work or exercise body fat provides energy to the body. Adipose tissue produces energy to the body when body rejects energy from food in case of sickness.
  3. Fat helps our body to absorb nutrients especially fat-soluble vitamins.
  4. Fat maintain the normal temperature level of our body.
  5. It produces hormones and maintain normal hormonal regulation in our body, overall it controls body’s metabolic functions.
  6. Fat helps to Keeps our skin glowing and moisture.
  7. Body fat protect our immune function as well as bone health also.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which body fat calculator is the most accurate?

Hydrostatic (or underwater) weighing is the best standard for calculating body fat because of its highest level of accuracy.

Are abs visible at 15 percent body fat?

While abs may not be visible at, you may start noticing a muscular shape. But 15 percent body fat means you are on your way to a six-pack.

How can I find out my body fat percentage without equipment?

You can find body fat percentages without equipment using simple formulae.
Body fat percentage equals (body weight – lean body mass)/(body weight) X 100.
You can find out lean body mass with your weight and height values.
For men
Lean body mass = (0.32810 × W) + (0.33929 × H) − 29.5336

For women
Lean body mass = (0.29569 × W) + (0.41813 × H) − 43.2933

Note:W refers to bodyweight in kilograms and H refers to height in centimeters.

At what body fat percentage do abs show?

The ideal body fat percentage for abs is 10% – 14%.

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