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Assessing and Measuring Body Fat Percentage

Monday, May 02, 2016

Assessing and Measuring Body Fat Percentage

Measuring body fat percentage is an easy method of discovering correct body weight and composition. Beneath the skin is a layer of subcutaneous fat, and the percentage of total body fat can be measured by taking the 'skinfold at selected points on the body with a pair of callipers. This test only requires four measurements.

Required resources

To undertake this test you will require:
  • Measurement callipers
  • Assistant.
Assessing and Measuring Body Fat Percentage

Measurement sites

Take measurements form the following sites:

Triceps
 Triceps Body Fat Percentage

With the arm resting comfortably at the side, take a vertical fold parallel to the long axis of the arm midway between the shoulder and the tip of the elbow.

Subscapula
Scapula Body Fat Percentage

Take a diagonal fold across the back, just below the shoulder blade.

Biceps
Biceps Body Fat Percentage
With the arm resting comfortably at the side, take a vertical fold halfway between the elbow and top of the shoulder on the front of the upper arm.

Suprailiac
Suprailiac Body Fat Percentage

Take a diagonal fold following the natural line of the iliac crest, just above the hip bone.

How to conduct the test

The method is as follows:
  • Ensure that all of the skinfold measurements are located on the right side of the body and that the measurements are taken in millimetres
  • Pick up the skinfold between the thumb and the index finger so as to include two thicknesses of skin and subcutaneous fat
  • Apply the callipers about one centimetre from the fingers and at a depth about equal to the thickness of the fold
  • Repeat the procedure three times as the measurement may vary and record the average value
  • Add the results of each measurement to get a total value in millimetres.

Target group

This test is suitable for active individuals but not for those where the test would be contraindicated.

Reliability

Reliability would depend upon how strict the test is conducted.

Validity

There are published tables to relate results to potential level of fitness and the correlation is high.

Reference

Mackenzie, Brian. 2005. 101 Performance Evalution Test. Electric World Plc. London.