Why it works: A rough estimate of whether the number on your scale is healthy based on your height and weight, your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good indicator of your risk factors for certain conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
DIY: To determine your BMI, plug your numbers into this BMI Calculator. Here is the link https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/adult-widget/iframe.html
For example, Mary is 5 Foot, 4 inches and weights 135 pounds.
Her BMI is 23.17, which is in the Normal range.
You can use the same link to find out your starting point on the BMI chart below.
Con.: While this measurement can estimate whether most people’s body fat percentage is in a healthy range, it doesn’t account for the fact that very fit people may weigh more because of the muscle they carry.
Experts say:“BMI can be useful to assess your health risks, but it doesn’t tell you how much fat versus lean mass you have,” says certified personal trainer Chris Gagliardi, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “If an athlete and a sedentary person were the same weight and same height they would be placed in the same category, for example, whereas one person might be more highly fit than the other.”
This Blogger’s Opinion:I am looking to measure body fat, so this one does not work for me.
Why it works: Relative Fat Mass aims to give a more accurate measurement of body fat percentage than BMI, by using your height and waist circumference to measure your whole-body fat total. All you need is a measuring tape (for the most accurate measurement, place the measuring tape right at the top of your hip bones and draw a circle around your waist).
DIY: To determine your RFM, follow this formula:
Men: 64 – (20 x height in inches/waist circumference in inches) = RFM
Women: 76 – (20 x height in inches/waist circumference in inches) = RFM
If you also know your BMI (or how to calculate it), you can compare these measurements to see if you possibly fall into a different category. (Source https://www.healthcentral.com/article/rfm-an-accurate-alternative-to-bmi)
If we take the example of Mary above:
Women: 76 – (20 x height in inches/waist circumference in inches) = RFM
First (20 x 64in) = 1280, then divide that by her waist, we will use 27 inches = 1280/27 =45.7, subtract 76 = 28.59.
Mary is now in the Overweight range of the BMI chart below.
Con: Although experts find this method to be more precise in determining body fat percentage compared to BMI, the technique is relatively new, so there are no longitudinal studies as of yet to compare RFM numbers with disease risk, as there are with BMI.
Experts say:“Relative fat mass is a better measure of body fatness than many indices currently used in medicine and science, including the BMI,” according to Orison Woolcott, M.D., who co-designed the method with colleagues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
This Blogger’s Opinion: This one measures body fat. It is quick and easy.
3. The Waistband Method
Why it works:Pants don’t lie!
DIY:Find a pair of pants with a non-stretch waistband and slip them on when you wake up every morning as a daily measuring tool.
Con: Time-of-month bloating and an occasional big meal might sway results from time to time, and this method only tells you about your weight gain relative to when you bought the pants – not where you stand in absolute terms.
Experts say:“The medical director for the UT Center of Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance in Houston. “Trying on the same pair of pants or skirt every day is a simple, yet helpful way to get a sense of what’s going on.”
This Blogger’s Opinion:This method will not show me the improvements I have made.
4. Hip-to-Waist Ratio
Why it works:If you carry more weight around your middle than your hips, you may be more likely to develop certain conditions like diabetes and heart disease. This method, which measures the difference in circumference between the two areas, helps determine your risk for these and other health problems.
DIY: To measure your waist, wrap a tape measure around the midpoint between your lowest rib and your main hip bone, and at the largest circumference point of your hips. For exact instructions, follow this video by ACE Fitness pros https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyL8UfGZMJE
Take these two measurements.
Then, divide your waist measurement by the hip measurement.
Compare the result to the Waist to Hip Ratio Chart.
Pro.: The American Heart Association recently reported that waist circumference alone is the best indicator of a heart attack, especially in women.
Experts say:“While these measurements do correlate well to morbidity and mortality data, it’s difficult to get an accurate measurement,”says Horn. “Even some of my colleagues have a hard time with it sometimes, because you need to measure in a very specific place.”
This Blogger’s Opinion: I cannot be sure to measure the same area every time, so I will pass on this one.
5. Body Part Circumference
Why it works:Choose any body part – arm, leg, or another area and get a sense of your health and fitness progress by taking before-and-after measurements.
DIY: Want to shrink your waist? Build your biceps? Tighten your thighs? Pick a part, any part, and measure the circumference now, then schedule weekly check-ins with yourself to re-measure and assess your progress as you follow a healthy eating and exercise routine.
Con.:The girth of your thighs or biceps varies substantially at different points along the muscle. Measuring even just a few centimeters north or south of where you measured last week can affect the numbers, so try to find “landmarks” on your body to get a consistent reading (a freckle or mole).
Experts say:“Don’t fall into the line of thinking that you can spot-reduce a particular body part by doing sit-ups to get flat abs,”says Gagliardi. “You can’t reduce fat on a specific part of the body.” But you can work the muscle underneath, so that when you lose the fat via a healthy diet, you’ll be able to see more muscle definition.”
This Blogger’s Opinion:I agree with this expert’s opinion above.
6. Body Fat Percentage
Why it works:Knowing how much of your flesh is made up of muscle versus fat can be a better indicator of your overall health and fitness level.
DIY:Smart scales are making it easy to test your body fat percentage at home. They transmit an electrical signal from your feet and scan your body.
Con: Cheaper models may be less accurate than professional-grade scales that you’d find at a clinic.
Experts say:“These scales use a slightly less-sophisticated version of what you’d see in a science lab,” says Gagliardi. “They give you a fairly accurate reading, though, and the technology has come a long way in recent years.”
This Blogger’s Opinion: Accuracy is more important than price within your budget.
Here are the most accurate smart scales for 2020 https://www.fitnessmusthaves.com/scales/most-accurate-bathroom-scale-reviews/
This Blog Post was condensed from These at-home measuring techniques will help you size yourself up by Megan McMorris Health Writer
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