How Do You Measure Belly Fat?  Some Basics to Know

How Do You Measure Belly Fat? Some Basics to Know

It is not always the flabby stuff that is obvious.

how do you measure belly fat, to tell if you are one of the fat people

It is the insidious inner fat that may not show as readily, but can be life-threateningHow do you measure belly fat?  How do you know when you have a health problem?

Belly Fat, that roll around your middle, or the beer belly, or front butt, as some call it, is ugly and can cause back pain and knee pain, just from lugging around those extra pounds.  Yup, belly fat is UGLY!

Did you know that every extra pound adds 4 to 6 pounds of stress to your knees? What that means is, say you are 30 pounds overweight.  You are putting 120 to 180 pounds of stress on each knee with every single step.  What results do you think that has on needing knee replacements?  Not only that, but belly fat is downright dangerous.  How do you measure belly fat…some basics.

Dangers of Belly Fat

Yeah, it looks ugly.  Bellies of men and women hanging out over their waists- wait waists?

There were waists there once upon a time.

It is not always our fault that belly fat gets accumulated.

It can come from the pollutions in the environment.   Or stress in our lives.  Or too many processed foods.  Or an unbalanced diet.  Or Or Or…

Fault is not something we need to think about here.  Yes, there is personal responsibility for how we live.  But let's move beyond shame and guilt and recriminations.  They do us no good!

Being mindful means accepting what is and then mindfully designing what to do about it.  Continue?  Experiment with some changes?

First Step – Learn How Do You Measure Belly Fat

The facts are that belly fat, especially the hard fat in our bellies, surrounds vital organs.  The loose fat is not as dangerous!  It doesn't look good, should probably be shed.  But the dangerous kind is the hard fat that makes for extra blood flow needs, making it hard to get good nutrients to your organs and remove the wastes from them.

Hard Belly Fat puts dangerous stress on your organs.

Hard to Get Rid Of?

It sure can be, but it can also be done. This isn't the fat that you can grab that is on the surface, just under your skin. It is hard fat that's deep inside your body. It surrounds your organs and can cause heart failure.

Go here for 10 Tips on where belly fat originates and creative solutions for belly fat.  This post is going to talk about how do you measure belly fat, to see if you have a problem.  The linked post gives you some solutions.

How Fat Are You – How to Measure?figuring out the right amount of food to eat

BMI or Body Mass Index is one popular way to determine your ideal weight. You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight by your height in inches and then by your height again. Multiply the result by 703.

  • A BMI of 18.5 or less is Underweight.
  • 18.5 to 25 is Normal or the Ideal Weight range.
  • 25 to 30 is Overweight.
  • More than 30 is Obese.

Similarly, if you are not now in the normal range, you can take a number from the normal BMI range between 18.5 and 25, say take 24. Divide 24 by 703 and multiply by your height twice. That will give you a target weight.

The problem with BMI is it doesn't take into account the lifestyle or build of the person.

Lean muscle weighs more than fat, so an athlete could have a higher BMI than someone who is sedentary and out of shape. A person with strong bones may have a higher BMI than someone with weak bones or osteoporosis.

BMI tends to underestimate body fat in obese people and overestimate in the muscular and the slim.

measuring body fatWaist to Hip Ratio Measurement

Another measurement used, this one by the Marine Corps, is the Waist to Hip Ratio or WTR. This is simply dividing the measurements around the waist by the hip. For me, as a man, less than 0.9 is healthy, while cardiovascular risk climbs to being high when the measurement is 1 or greater.

For women, the range 0.8 for healthy and over 0.9 for higher risk. The lower range is a more pear-shaped body, while the upper is more apple-shaped.

Hmmm.  I am pausing to think about that…

WTR gives an indication of the body shape, but fails to take into account the amount of fat compared to muscle in the body. A really simple measurement that does indicate the belly fat percentage accumulation is dividing your height in 2. If your waist is under this, you are in a healthy place.

OK.  Back to Basic Math

Body Fat ScaleThe most accurate calculation is body fat percentage. Many gyms and doctors offices have scales that can measure your body fat.

For men, average is 18-25%, while women have more fat and average is 25-31%. Higher than these ranges is overweight to obese and lower is usually more fit and athletic.

I recommend you buy a 1byone Bluetooth Body Fat Scale with IOS and Android App Smart Wireless Digital Bathroom Scale for Body weight, Body Fat, Water, Muscle Mass, BMI, BMR, Bone Mass and Visceral Fat for your own bathroom, for less than $30.  Then you will know!

Note:  If you buy a product using one of our affilliate links, Annie's Tips will get a small commission that helps support this website.  It does not cost you one penny extra, and we really appreciate it!

If the scale says you are fat, you probably have excess belly fat deep inside.  Go here for ways to take care of it.  It can be a matter of life and death.

Don't stick with shame over whether or not you have belly fat.  Just start to work on improving your health mindfully.

how do you measure belly fat

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Published by Annie Collyer

Annie is a mom of four, a business owner and blogger. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where they are both active volunteers in their community school district. She writes about designing our lives with proven design thinking principles. Join her in creating the life we each want.

  • Kevin says:

    Great information. I gotta admit I have few pounds lurking around down there that really need to go away. Of course, easier said than done. The info about bmi
    is very pertinent as a one size fits all ranking system is rather silly. In my youth I was quite athletic and my body mass is clearly different than other people. At the time my BMI was “correct” I actually looked way to thin. Thanks for the thorough article.

  • Sue Dixon says:

    Oh I really did not want to do the math! Scary truth be told, Annie. I will most likely invest in the scale you recommended and keep closer tabs on where I am presently. Great post!

  • Paul says:

    Dear Annie,

    Thanks for this detailed post on “Belly Fat”. Really useful information and I am thinking of reducing my small belly.

    Hard Belly Fat puts dangerous stress on your organs. This information hit me because when I had problem with my stomach doctor said the same thing so I do know the importance and realize the worth of your article. Thanks a lot for reminding me I need to focus on reducing my belly.

    Your Friend,

  • Brittaney Verkuyl says:

    A lesson in body fat. This has huge implications for people like a family member with a heart condition or your best friend that has gestational diabetes. We all just look at the surface fat and don’t think about the dangerous hard fat buried deep in our bodies around our organs.

  • Michelle says:

    Great article, Annie. The numbers are scary in any calculation. Thanks for defining the formulas. I have heard of them but your article makes it clear on how to calculate them. Thanks for sharing. It is food for thought…and action.

    • Thank you, Michelle. When we learn where we are, we can take action to do something about making the numbers what we want them to be, isn’t that so? It is part of mindful living, being present with what is, and then taking action.

  • minecraft says:

    This post is actually good information for me…I did not know about the dangerous belly fat!

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