How to Measure the Normal Rate of Body Fat

Health May 03, 2021

Determining the optimal balance of adipose tissue in the body is not easy. First, it does not take into account either the age or gender of a person, although, logically, BMI in men should be higher than in women, and BMI in young people should be higher than in older people. Besides, the average BMI values ​​do not depend on the country, and if, for example, the indicators recommended by the WHO, it will turn out that more than half of the population suffers from overweight. In addition, the BMI formula is completely unsuitable for people who are seriously involved in sports. There are a lot of sports, the requirements for athletes are completely different, and they rarely fit into the average: the BMI of rhythmic gymnasts, for example, is close to the mark “pronounced deficit”, and the BMI of weightlifters is obese, while both are completely healthy. Therefore, any calculation of the optimal weight and percentage of adipose tissue in professional athletes is an individual and empirical question.

It should be understood that the rate of fat content in the male and female bodies is different: women should have 5-10% more fat. There are also differences in the properties of adipose tissue and how it is distributed. Firstly, in men, fat is denser, while in women it is loose, so cellulite is more common in them (strictly speaking, it can generally be considered a secondary sexual characteristic). Secondly, in men, adipose tissue is distributed more or less evenly throughout the body, and in women, it is deposited in the mammary glands, in the pelvic area, and the hips. In case of violations, adipose tissue can begin to be deposited in characteristic places, for example, on the anterior abdominal wall. It is this variant of obesity that doctors consider the most dangerous: it is directly related to the development of diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, some malignant tumors, myocardial infarctions, strokes, and a great many other pathologies.

One of the most reliable today ways to understand the optimal balance of adipose tissue in the body is the bioimpedance method, which is based on the bioelectrical resistance of tissues. With its help, we can find out not only the percentage of adipose tissue but also how it is distributed. This is important for the early diagnosis of endocrine disorders, which are characterized by an excess of body fat in certain areas. This study is quite simple, and it is done in a number of clinics. Besides, another method for studying the balance and distribution of fat has recently been described using a three-dimensional scanner or computed tomography. The indicator that it measures is called BVI (that is, Body Volume Index).

But even without a 3D scanner, with bioimpedance equipment, you can accurately determine the optimal balance of body fat. Besides, there are formulas for the thickness of the fat fold, the ratio of the circumference and line of the pelvis, waist, and height, waist and arms, waist and legs. Together, this allows you to make accurate and, most importantly, individual calculations. Although here it is necessary to make a reservation that the feelings of the patient himself play an important role. For example, if, according to all calculations, the optimal weight of a person is 60 kg, and he feels better at 54 and analyzes confirm that he is healthy, it is not a fact that he should gain weight.

Another extremely unfavorable type of obesity is abdominal-visceral, which is when adipose tissue is deposited around the internal organs and disrupts their work. With the onset of menopause, the body begins to produce fewer sex hormones in the ovaries. In order to somehow compensate for the deficiency of estrogens, adipose tissue is taken for their increased production – and immediately begins to grow under their influence, that is, we find ourselves in a vicious circle. Moreover, the problem here is not only obesity but also the fact that estrogens, which are produced by adipose tissue in perimenopause, can trigger pathological processes in tissues, for example, endometrial hyperplasia or breast cancer.

The more steady the weight, the better for the skin, joints, back, and entire body. With age, metabolic processes slow down. This means that a number of enzymes are still being produced in our country, but the same amount is no longer consumed. The easiest way to spend them is to digest food, and the body tells you to “increase your appetite.” As a result, the woman begins to gain weight but often does not notice that she has begun to eat more. The same danger, by the way, lies in wait for those who start drinking hormonal contraceptives: any change in hormonal levels temporarily affects appetite. Of course, you will not get better from the pills themselves – this is a myth. Gaining weight during menopause or while taking HA is not the norm, even if you are far from obese.


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