In his book Fit or Fat author Covert Baily says, "We have developed such a mania for losing weight that we overlook what the lost weight may consist of. Suppose I were to call you on the telephone with the exciting news that the local supermarket was selling twelve pounds for only $1.29! Your reaction would be "Twelve pounds of what?" Well, that's my reaction when someone tells me of a terrific new diet which guarantees that you can lose twelve pounds in no time at all- twelve pounds of what?"
Body composition analysis gives us the answer to the question "Twelve pounds of what?" It is an important component of physical fitness and is concerned with the size, shape, and composition of the body.
Your weight is made up of two major components: fat weight and lean body weight (muscle, water, bone, blood, organs). The relative amounts of each is what we call body compositions. It is measured in body fat percentage- that is, how much of your body is fat versus how much is lean body mass.
"Most people are concerned with being overweight, but this term is obsolete. The proper term is overfat.... People make the common error of regarding overweight and overfat as identical. Many sedentary people are excessively fat, but not overweight, while many athletes are overweight but not overfat. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger- at 6"1", he was 235lbs. when he competed. Was he overfat? I don't think so! A 40 year old man may weigh the same as he did in college but may have not exercised since college, and he may think all is well. Surprise- he may have become overfat without a change in his body weight" (from YOU CAN BE FIT! by Dr. Steven Horwitz). Increased body fat, not necessarily increased body weight, puts you at a higher risk for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Discovering your percent body fat gives you an important baseline measurement from which to improve your health. Periodic measurement will tell you how you are doing with your exercise and fat loss programs. In this way you can make sure that your weight loss is mostly fat.
[Weight in pounds divdided by Height in inches divided by Height in inches] X 703
Weight in kilograms divided by Height in meters squared
For Adults see Body Mass for Adults
Less than 18.5: Underweight
19 - 25: Normal Weight
25 - 29: Overweight
Greater than 30: Obese
For Children see Body Mass for Children
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