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Alternatives to check BMI, obesity and body fat status

The most common indicator used to check obesity and body fat status is Body Mass Index (BMI). But, it is not the only or the best indicator. Also, BMI does not give any indication of how much body fat a person has. Athletes carry lots of lean muscle but they can have BMI which is in the overweight category because muscle weighs more than fat. Or, a person with small amounts of belly fat can have a BMI within the normal range.

Many other indicators are there which helps in determining obesity and body fat status. By combining one or more of these methods, you can get a better indication of how much body fat you are carrying. Let’s read about a few such indicators:

Waist Hip Ratio (WHR) – To calculate WHR, measure waistline and hips. Now, divide waist measurements with hip measurements to get WHR. Women with WHR over 0.80 and men with WHR over 0.90 are considered at risk.

Waist Circumference – Measure your waist with a measuring tape and you can get an indication about the amount of abdominal fat you may be carrying. According to physicians, women with a waist circumference of more than 80 cms and men with a waist circumference of more than 90 cms are considered at risk.

Body Adiposity Index (BAI) – BAI calculates body fat percentage using hip circumference and height. It does not take weight into consideration. Women with BAI above 33 % and men with BAI over 21 % are generally considered overweight. These values vary with age.

BAI = Hip circumference (cm) / Height (m) 1.5 – 18

Body Composition Analysis (BCA) –BCA is done using an equipment called body composition analyzer. It not only calculates body fat percentage but also lean body mass and metabolic rate. Body fat percentage of around 15% for men and 22% for women are considered as healthy although these values may vary as per age.

So, next time when you check your BMI, do check these indicators also to get a better indication of your obesity and body fat percentage status.