Know your body fat


To discover what your healthy weight range is you need to calculate a measurement known as the body mass index (BMI). Normal scales will only let you know how much you weigh, to know the weight that comes from fat rather than muscle you need a body fat scales. Feed in your age and height and in just seconds you'll have two numbers that together give an indicator of health and fitness.

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The medical profession uses the BMI as an indication of general health. A simple calculation can determine if a person is underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese.

So what is healthy and what's not? A BMI between 18 and 25 is considered good while less than 18 is classed as underweight. Between 25 and 30 and you are classed as overweight, more than 30 puts you into the obese category. An index of above 40 means you are considered to be morbidly obese.

A study for the Department of Health found that 43 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women in England are overweight. Figures also show that 22 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women are classed as obese. About one in10 of the juvenile population is currently classified as overweight. A further 746,662 boys and 675,983 girls are classed as obese.

Having a raised BMI is associated with health risks including heart disease, type two diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. A BMI of 30 and over increases the risk of death from any cause by 50 to 150 per cent, according to estimates.

Fit, athletic adults may not be the ideal candidates to have their BMI measured. This is because muscle weighs more than fat which could give a misleading BMI reading. Pregnant women will not have an accurate BMI measurement and should be assessed by a doctor.