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BMI handheld tester

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today my college was offering free bmi testing - i never had it done and i was curious. it was this little handheld gadget that you hold with both hands until it beeps.

so, i am 5'4 and around 119-121 pounds (haven;t weighed for a week or two) and the handheld thing said my fat percentage was 7% and my bmi is 17. is it me or is that ridiculously low? that seems sooo inaccurate. i mean, i'm in shape and stuff, do alot of cardio and watch what i eat, but wtf?

i asked the dude administering the test how accurate the handheld bmi tester is and he said its somewhat accurate, usually 2 or 3 numbers off (on the % and the bmi).

so i was wondering - does these scores seem reasonable or should i seek out another method? if another method, what?
8 Replies (last)

Seems dubious, kimpossible.. 7% BF is well below 'necessary BF' levels, even for professional female atheletes. 

Ever see those ripped female bodybuilders who take veterinary-grade drugs and diuretics to cut up for competition, so lean that you can see the sinews in their faces?  That's what 10% BF looks like.  I think you'd have to be a full time athelete, bodybuilder, or undernourished (like, under 100 pounds) to be 12% or less. 

If you're super duper lean, then chances are you're probably about 16-18% BF.

For comparison, I'm 5'3", 121, and I'm supposedly 17% according to my basic bathroom BF (electrical impedance) scale. I hit the gym pretty hard enough for definition, but I'm not ripped or anything. 

BF measuring devices are notoriously innacurate -- all of them.  There's some great reading out there about it! 

I just use the ol' bathroom scale and average the numbers over a few days --they vary with hydration, digestion, etc.. I don't take it too seriously.

You can look into caliper tests administered by very experienced sports-medicine practitioners, or water displacement tests that may exist at a college or upscale club. 

Yeah they did one of those on me and it said my body fat was 8%...which means I'd like basically be dead or dying. 

When donethe correct way at the doctor with callapers (sp?) it was much higher. 
Thanks for the feedback! My dad, who is a triathelete, said his % is like 11 and his bmi is 22, so there's no way I'm 7%! He does insane amounts of training and I'm at the gym like an hour and a half 5 days a week, lol. He said the best way to determine % is thru a dunk tank? I'm not going to pursue this much further b/c it's not like, essential that I know the #'s, but it's good to know that you can't really rely on any sorts of #'s (weight, pants size, etc.) and it just matters how you feel.

Thanks again, guys! :)
I know that goes against what other people say... but my BF% is 13% and I don't exercise so I think 7% could be possible for you. 
how did you get yours tested? also, really random - do you still get your period w/ 13%? i've lost mine for quiteeeee awhile now...

sorry if that's t-m-i, lol
Seeing as you don't get your period I think it accurate.. I haven't had mine tested with calipers but all the scales and BF devices seem to say the same number and at 5'9 and 113 lbs who am I to dispute it? I still get my period but it's really irregular. Any lower and I think I'll lose it completely. I know I should be more concerned about risk of amenorrhea and all that, but I'm just not. 
Your BMI isn't 17 anyway. 5'4" and 120lbs is about 20.6
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Like Duck said, if you weigh 120 lbs and are 5'4", your bmi is 20.6.  Since bmi is obtained by plugging your weight and height into a formula, I would not trust a machine which claims to "read" it electronically.   Also, unless you are a professional body builder, getting ready for a competition, I would doubt that you have 7% body fat.  (these are good things, a bmi of 17 is quite underweight, and  your body needs fat to work!) the link below is to a page with a chart showing how much body fat one needs according to gender.


8 Replies