Body Fat Weight Goal Calculator
Being overweight or obese from an excessive amount of body fat leads to increased morbidity and mortality risks. This is well established through numerous findings and that your body weight is not always a good indicator for these risks. It's more important to know your body composition; how much of your weight is due to body fat and how much of it is in the form of lean body mass.
The amount of body fat is usually expressed in terms of a percentage of overall weight. Once you know your body fat percentage, you can refer to body fat charts and tables developed by health and fitness organizations to see where you stand. These tables show body fat percentage ranges and corresponding health / fitness categories. This calculator will help you choose a body weight goal that's right for you to put you in one of the healthy body fat percentage categories.
Although there are a number of different techniques that can accurately measure your percentage of body fat, they can be expensive and inconvenient. Use this online calculator to get a reasonable estimate of your body fat percentage. Select from among the methods; an estimation based on your BMI, a body circumference method developed by the U.S. Navy or body skinfold tests. Enter your measurements into the calculator. It will calculate your body fat percentage based on formulas developed for the method type you selected. If you already know your body fat percentage and you are confident of its accuracy, you can simply enter the value manually.
Estimate from BMI Method
This method calculates body fat percentage from Body Mass Index (BMI) using regression equations published in a paper by Jackson et al. The formula takes sex and age into consideration. Although not as accurate as body circumference or skinfold methods, it nonetheless gives a ball park estimate for those of you who don't want to bother with measuring tapes or skinfold calipers. Note also that it's only intended for sedentary individuals.
U.S. Navy Body Circumference Method
For body circumference measurements, use a measuring tape made of non stretchable material, preferably fiberglass. Measure your circumferences carefully with the same amount of tension at exactly the same spot each time you make a measurement. This will provide you with a consistent estimate on which to chart your progress.
The measuring tape should be applied so that it just makes contact with the skin and conforms to the body surface being measured. Don’t compress the underlying soft tissues. Make sure all measurements are made in the horizontal plane (parallel to the floor). All measurements, including height and weight, should be made while you are in thin underclothes and without shoes
Neck, waist and hip circumference measurements are taken differently for men and woman. The formula does not require hip measurements for men. Waist measurements are taken at the belly button for men, and above the belly button for women.
For males, measure your neck circumference at a point just below the larynx (Adam’s apple). Don’t place the tape measure over the Adam’s apple. You should look straight ahead during the measurement, with shoulders down (not hunched). Keep the tape as close to horizontal as anatomically feasible. Measure waist circumference against the skin at the belly button level and parallel to the floor. Keep arms at the sides.
For females, the neck measurement is taken the same way as taken for males. Measure waist (abdomen) circumference against the skin at the skinniest part of the waist. This is usually about halfway between the navel and the end of the sternum (breastbone). Ensure that the tape is level and parallel to the floor. Keep arms at the side. Hip measurements should be taken by placing the tape around the hips so that it passes over the greatest protrusion of the buttocks as viewed from the side. Ensure the tape is level and parallel to floor. Apply sufficient tension on tape to minimize effect of any clothing.
The accuracy of the U.S. Navy Body Circumference method is comparable to skinfold methods, around 3.5% for most people.
Skinfold testing can predict body fat percentages within plus or minus 3.5 percent of your true body composition. Generally the more skinfold sites measured, the greater the accuracy. However, both the U.S. Navy body circumference method and skinfold testing can lose accuracy for the obese or extremely lean individuals.
For skinfold measurements, please refer to your skinfold caliper manual for instructions. As a general rule, skinfold measurements should always be taken from the same side of the body, usually the right side. Take a minimum of two measurements at each skinfold site. If the two measurements differ by more than 2 mm, take a 3rd. Record the average for the site.
Jackson-Pollock 3-Site Skinfold Method
This is a simple method that you can perform yourself. It is fairly accurate for most people with an average build. However, it tends to underestimate body fat for athletes, body builders or very lean individuals. The skinfold measurement sites differ for men and women. The formula uses the chest, abdomen and thigh for males; the tricep, suprailiac and thigh for women.
Jackson-Pollock 4-Site Skinfold Method
With this method, the skinfold measurement sites are the same for both males and females. Four sites are used which makes this method slightly more reliable than the 3 site method but again, it loses accuracy for very lean individuals.
Jackson-Pollock 7-Site Skinfold Method
This method produces the most reliable results of the three Jackson-Pollock series of skinfold measurements. The test uses seven skinfold sites the locations of which are the same for both males and females.
Durnin-Womersley Skinfold Method
The Durnin-Womersley method is probably the most popular skinfold measurement methods used but it tends to overestimate body fat for very fit individuals. It utilizes four skinfold measurements at the same four skinfold sites for both males and females.
Body Fat Percentage Calculation Results
The results of your body fat percentage calculation will show you where you stand in the categories of 3 different charts developed by the following Health and Fitness Organizations;
The General Body-fat Percentages chart from ACE is one of the most commonly used body fat charts. Its main limitation is that it does not take your age into account.
The table used by this calculator links body fat percent ranges to the BMI guidelines and takes sex and age into consideration. The body fat percent ranges are based on research performed by Gallagher et al.
The Fitness Categories tables used in the calculations were adapted from tables 4.2 and 4.3 on pages 72 and 73 respectively, of ACSM's Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment manual, 5th Edition.
- Obesity and overweight
World Health Organization
- Development of the DoD Body Composition Estimation Equations.
Hodgdon, James A.; Friedl, Karl
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
- Generalized equations for predicting body density.
Jackson, A.S., Pollock, M.L.
British Journal of Nutrition. 40: 497-504, 1978.
The effect of sex, age and race on estimating percentage body fat from body mass index.
Jackson AS, Stanforth PR, Gagnon J, Rankinen T, Leon AS, Rao DC, Skinner JS, Bouchard C, Wilmore JH.
Healthy percentage body fat ranges: An approach for developing guidelines based on body mass index.
Gallagher D, Heymsfield SB, Heo M, Jebb SA, Murgatroyd PR, Sakamoto Y.