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What Is Body Composition?


Body composition is a universal term used in the health and fitness industry.

Doctors use body composition to find what percentage of your body weight is fat. This helps them find out your level of health.

Body composition is important because someone else can be the same height and weight as you, but they might have more body fat and less muscle.

This could lead to different health issues in them.


The scale won’t tell you how much of your body is made up of fat and muscle mass.


But assessing body composition can help you find that.


Healthier body composition is less fat and more muscle mass.


Too much body fat can lead to risks like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.


Determining Body Composition

To find out what your body fat percentage is, a health professional might use skin calipers to measure your stored fat.


However, there are other more accurate ways of measuring your body composition.


Skin calipers. A health professional will use skin calipers to measure your skinfold thickness.

They’ll measure areas where stored fat is commonly found. When done with a good technique, skin calipers can be very accurate. But human error can cause many fluctuations.


Underwater weighing. When underwater, your lean tissue sinks, and fat floats.


Your underwater weight helps estimate how much fat mass you have. This is a very accurate method of finding body composition.


But it requires special equipment.


A body pod. This kind of machine measures how much air your body displaces.

It’s a more convenient option compared to underwater weighing.


It also takes less time.


Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. A DEXA scan uses low-level x-rays to find how much body fat, muscle, and bone are in your body. It's quick and also includes bone in the assessment.



Bioelectrical impedance. This analysis sends electrical currents through your body.


It then measures the speed at which it travels. It’s the cheapest method of measuring your body fat, after skin calipers.


However, the accuracy depends on a lot of factors. It’s best for monitoring changes in your body fat.


A body pod. This kind of machine measures how much air your body displaces.

It’s a more convenient option compared to underwater weighing.


It also takes less time.


Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. A DEXA scanuses low-level x-rays to find how much body fat, muscle, and bone are in your body. It's quick and also includes bone in the assessment.

Bioelectrical impedance. This analysis sends electrical currents through your body.

It then measures the speed at which it travels. It’s the cheapest method of measuring your body fat, after skin calipers.


However, the accuracy depends on a lot of factors. It’s best for monitoring changes in your body fat.


According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there are healthy body fat percentages based on your age.


For people aged 20 to 39, women should aim for 21% to 32% of body fat.


Men should have 8% to 19%.


For people 40 to 59, women should fall between 23% to 33% and men should fall around 11% to 21%.

If you’re aged 60 to 79, women should have 24% to 35% body fat and men should have 13% to 24%.

Women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than men. Their body fat will also naturally increase as they age.

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My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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