Wellness dictionary

Little ABC for your spa-break questions ...

In their treatment discriptions, wellness hotels often use technical terms, which are hard to understand for potential guests. We have therefore collected and defined the most relevant terms in our small wellness ABC. A tip: Our wellness dictionary also supports word requests. You don't need to know the exact wording.

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage (BFP): What does it say?

The body fat percentage shows the percentage of fat accumulated in relation to the total mass of the body. The body fat percentage gives more precise information about how a person's weight is composed. We know that people with the same weight can have completely opposite physiques.

So a man with 100 kilos (220 pounds) can weigh a little to much, whereas another man with the same weight is a muscleman. Therefore, it i crucial to determine one's body fat percentage in addition to weight. This measurement allows more precise conclusions to be drawn about the state of health and fitness than, for example, the body mass index (BMI) that is commonly used. In contrast to the body fat percentage, the latter only evaluates age, height and weight. A well-trained athlete can have a poorer BMI than un unsporty person who is simply lighter due to untrained muscles. The body fat percentage leaves less scope.

Calculating body fat percentage

There are various methods for determining the body fat percentage. The most common are wighing with a body fat scale, skin fold measurement and the US navy method.

  1. Body fat scale
    these special scales are very popular to conduct a body fat percentage analysis. They are simple to use and one can easily measure the body fat perentage at home. The scale has two metal plates on which the feet are positioned. During the measurement, electrical impulses, the so-called bioelectrical impedane analysis, are sent throgh the lower extremities. Based on the resistance that is encountered, the scale calculates how much fat and how much muscle mass is available. Fat transfers less well than muscles or water. So the higher the resistance, the higher the body fat percentage. The disadavantage of this measurement: Only the lower body is included in the measurement. So the analysis works only reliably only with a relatively even figure. If there is an above-average fat deposit in the upper or lower body, the measurement is not accurate. Also note: The water balance in the body fluctuates. In this way, the measurement can achieve different results within a few hours. However, a body fat scale is always suitable for checking possible diet success. Thus, it is important to ensure that conditions are as equal as possible when measuring. Like this, one can see the development of body fat over a longer period of time.

  2. The skin fold measurement
    A more precise way to measure body fat is by measurung skin folds. The skin folds in different regions of the body are measured with the help of a so-called fatcaliper. With its pliers shape, the tool measures the thickness of the skin folds on the different parts of the body. The measurement results are then entered into a computer, which calculates the body fat percentage on the basis of this data. There are various websites to evaluate such data. The most common used mtheod for this measurement is the 3-fold method. The regions of the belly fold, breast fold and leg fold are measured on men, and the belly fold, triceps fold and hipfold on women. Initially, the mesaurements have to be carried out several times per body region to get the correct body fat percentage. This method requires a little practice, but is more reliable than the body fat scale when used correctly.

  3. The US Navy method
    Another quite simple method for calculating body fat percentage is the US Navy method. For this, all you need is a standard measuring tape- As with skin fold measurement, different regions of the body are measured and then entered into a computer. On women, the size of the abdomen, nick and hip is measured. On men, only the size of abdomen and neck is included in the analysis. The results of this measurement are however not as precise, but they are the easiest and cheapest to implement.

Body fat percentage - how much is normal?

A too high percentage of body fat poses enormous health risks. Cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes can result. Hower, there is no such thing as a normal value. One has to differentiate beween the body fat percentage of women and the body fat percentage of men. The body fat percentage also varies depending on age groups. The following graphs show the ideal body fat percentage for men (top table) and for women (bottom table).
How to reduce body fat:

One can reduce body fat with a healthy combination of sports and nutrition. There is no general formula for a healthy nutrition. Some lose weight particularly well on the low-carb diet, while others can handle carbohydrates very well. No matter which type one is, the most important thing is to eat on a regularly basis. Zero diets are not only dangerous, they also lead to muscle and fat loss, hence do nothing for the body fat percentage. When it comes to sports, a mix of cardio and strength training is recommended. Men like to focus on weight training, while women often tend to do cardio workouts. However, in order to lower the body fat percentage and to keep it in good proportion to the muscle percentage, both must be practiced.

Related topics: Wacker-Method Cardio Training Nutritional counselling Fasting Healthysatisfaction Idogo-Walking Nordic Walking Wholefoods

Wellness-Experte Dr. Matthias Menschel Allgemeinmediziner und Naturheilverfahren

Matthias Menschel

Dr. med. Matthias Menschel, born in 1965, is a general medical practitioner and naturopathic physician. Since 2000 he has been the head physician at Menschel's Vitalresort in Bad Sobernheim. Buchinger fasting and Felke therapy are the focus of his medical activities. Further treatment focuses are: