Simple Body Composition


Methods of estimating body composition at home

Weight and Height Estimates like BMI and Ideal Body Weight can be done at home but do not give you an accurate value of proportion of fat mass to fat-free mass. There are more accurate techniques available for body composition determination.

Ideal Body Weight:

Is used to determine an approximation of what one should weight according to their height. For a range of ideal weight use the following calculation:

For women:

  • 100 lbs for 5 feet
  • 5 lbs for each inch over 5 feet

For men:

  • 105 lbs for 5 feet
  • 6 lbs for each inch over 5 feet

BMI: Body Mass Index:

The body mass index is used to assess weight relative to height and is calculated by dividing body weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. Obesity related health problems increase beyond a BMI of 25 for most people.

[ Weight (kg) / height2 (m)]

Standards for BMI

  • >18.5 - Underweight
  • 18.5-24.9 - Normal
  • 25.0-29.9 - Obesity - Class 1
  • 30.0-34.9 - Obesity - Class 2
  • 35.0-39.9 - Obesity - Class 3
  • <40.0 - Extreme Obesity

***Waist to hip ratios can give you an idea of how your fat is distributed on your body:

Waist to hip ratios

The pattern of body fat distribution is recognized as an important predictor of the health risks of obesity especially for individuals with more fat on the trunk.

Traditionally, the waist to hip ratio (WHR -the circumfrence of the waist divided by the circumfrence of the hip) has been used as a simple method for determining body fat pattern.

  • Waist: Measured at the narrowest part of the torso (above the belly button and below the rib cage.
  • Hip: At the maximal width of the hips or buttocks region, whichever is larger
  • Health risk increases with waist to hip ratio and standards of risk vary for age and gender.

Examples of Very High Risk

  • Young men < .94
  • Young women < .82
  • Men ages 60-69 < 1.03
  • Women ages 60-69 < .90

**Does it make a difference where fat is deposited?

Yes. Androids, or those with fat stored in the abdominal region have increased heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and early death risk compared to those who deposit their fat in their hip/thigh area.



Important: Every individual is unique and different, and your physiological makeup and physical characterisitcs are unique to you. We try to provide well-founded general information as a service to users of this website, but this kind of general information should NOT be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor or make an appointment with our office for medical advice specific to your body and your unique situation.