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Body fat percentage - what does it mean!?

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So I've just bought a scales which tells you your body fat percentage (not BMI), but I have no idea whether mine is good or bad!


It says 18.3, I weigh 112 and am 5'3. It also says my body water percentage as 53.4, what does it all mean!!? 

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18.3% is good. There are different ranges one can find on the web for an acceptaable body fat percentage, but 18.3% is within all of them.

Hello Pretty Lady,

What scale do you have?  The scales use bioelectric impedence to measure body fat.  They send a small current through your body.  The current takes longer to go through fat than muscle.

These are usually accurate to about 4%.  So your body fat could be from 22.3 to 14.3.  This method also will produce different results based on your hydration.  So its best to take a couple readings throughout the day.  Also do not use it right after you work out because your hydration will be off.  I have a Omron HBF-500 it seams to be pretty accurate.

For your stats that sounds about right.

Here is the information about body fat:

About the way it measures htm

Also body water percentage: asp

Hope that answers your questions!

should your BMI be different than your body fat %? 

How can your body fat% be like 38% but you have 100lbs to lose

Your BMI more than likely will not be the same as your Body Fat % because the two are completely different.

The BMI (Body Mass Index) is calculated by your height, age, and weight.  It does not take into account how much muscle/mass you have or your frame size.  It gives a broad weight range to cover a majority of people.  There are plenty of athletes that are technically overweight by BMI standards but have low body fat percentages.

The BF% (Body Fat Percentage) is the percentage of fat that your body contains. 

Here is a great article about Body Fat Percentage.

"For women, a body fat of 10-12% is essential, 14-20% is considered a healthy range for athletes, 21-24% is healthy for fitness, 25-31% is considered an 'acceptable' range and anything above 32% is considered obese.

For men, 2-4% body fat is essential, 6-13% is an athletic body fat range, 14-17% is considered a 'fit' range, and 18-25% is acceptable. Anything above 26% for men is considered obese. So, how do you find out what your body fat is? Below are the most popular methods for testing body composition."

ok that's a much better explanation because I kept seeing the 25 to 31 range..and for having a large BMI and not so large a BF% I was I calculating something wrong?


thanks for the clarification

No problem.  :)

Someone can have an "overweight" BMI but still be on the thin side because they have a lower body fat percentage.  Just like someone with a healthy range BMI can look overweight because they have a high body fat percentage.

6 Replies