Body fat percentage calculators are reasonably accurate, but not the most accurate way to determine body fat percentage. There are various methods to calculate body fat percentage, ranging from DEXA scan to girth measurements. DEXA is the most precise body fat measurement method, but it is not readily available in every area and can be relatively expensive. Girth measurements are the least accurate method, but they are easy to perform and only require a measuring tape.
This body fat calculator takes inputs and enters them into three scientifically validated body fat percentage formulas: The YMCA Body Fat Formula, The Navy Body Fat Formula, and The CUN BAE Body Fat Formula. The calculator averages all three formulas to obtain a more realistic estimation. However, the calculator may not accurately reflect an individual’s body fat percentage. Scientific research-based formulas have been developed to estimate body fat percentage, but they are not sensitive enough to account for all body types, particularly those furthest away from the average.
Age, sex, and ethnicity can impact an individual’s body fat percentage and body fat distribution. As people age, they tend to lose lean mass and gain body fat. On average, males and females differ in levels of body fat and how that fat is distributed on their bodies. In general, female bodies prefer higher ranges of body fat for overall health. There are no reliable calculations for people who are intersex or transgender. The most accurate guess will come from using the body composition calculations that are closest to a person’s current hormonal profile.
An individual’s ancestry or ethnicity may lead to meaningful differences between ethnic groups. For instance, people of some types of South and East Asian ancestry may have a higher risk of metabolic disease at a relatively lower level of body fat compared to those of Western European descent. Due to many indigenous South Pacific peoples, having heavier and denser bodies, they may be categorized as “obese” or in a higher-risk category, even though this body type is not associated with negative health effects for them.
In conclusion, body fat percentage calculators are generally accurate, but they are not the most precise way to determine an individual’s body fat percentage. An individual’s body shape, size, age, sex, ethnicity, and hormonal profile can all influence their body fat percentage and body fat distribution. Although scientific research-based formulas have been developed, they are not ideal for all body types. However, they can be used as data to measure changes over time.