Assessing Body Fat
The minimum body fat percentage considered safe is five percent for males and 12 percent for females. The average adult body fat considered healthy is 15-18 percent for men and 22-25 percent for women.
Several methods are available for assessing body fat:
Waist To Hip Ratio: Simply divide waist circumference by hip circumference. A ratio greater than 0.8 is considered to be a health risk for women. For men, a ratio of 0.95 or higher is considered a health risk.
Skinfold Measurement: Approximately 50 percent of fat is stored under the skin. Measurement of the skin thickness at several areas of the body using calipers can indicate the overall body fatness.
Bioelectrical Impedance: A low level of electrical current is passed though a person's body by electrodes placed on a wrist and ankle. The greater the resistance to the current flow, the greater the percentage of body fat.
Hydrodensitometry: Fat is less dense than water. The difference between your weight on dry land and your weight when you are submerged in water is the estimate of your total body fat. This test is a very accurate measure of total body fat.