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How To Measure Body Fat

By Moshy
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3 min read

Knowing how to measure body fat for ourselves can lead to efficient weight loss – but how?

When it comes to losing weight, information is a weapon – and our doctors at Moshy agree. Understanding what's the best way to measure body fat and what it means for your weight can go a long way towards losing weight effectively and keeping it off. It also helps with minimising the risks of rebound weight gain.

 Unfortunately, not many know how to do so accurately. Below is a brief rundown on the basics of body fat measurement.

Why is it important for me to calculate my body fat percentage?

Before we start on how to measure body fat, we need to separate body fat from body weight first.

Body fat is where our body stores its energy reserves. It’s also further divided into different categories, such as brown fat (helps regulate body temperature)[1] and white fat (stores energy)[2]. A body fat index or body fat percentage (BFP) is used to identify the ideal percentage of fat-to-body-mass per weight range.

Meanwhile, body weight is the total weight of a human, including lean muscle mass, bone mass, and body fat. A healthy balance of these many parts equals a healthy body, making it important to know how to measure body fat and body weight.[3] This is because while you may have an ideal body fat percentage, you may not have your ideal body weight, and vice versa.[4] Your ideal body weight is typically identified through your body mass index or BMI.[5]

In short, your BMI is your guide for what your weight should be, while your BFP is your guide to how much fat is healthy for your weight.

How does my body fat percentage affect weight loss?

Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad for our health. Our body needs a healthy amount of fat to function at its best, and a body fat deficiency can be just as harmful to health as having body fat in excess. Too little fat can increase your risk of developing various health complications just as much as having too much.[6]

The healthy BFP for a friend or peer may not be the ideal BFP for you. This is why it’s important to consult with a doctor first regarding how to get rid of belly fat before starting a new diet or workout regimen. Your Moshy doctor will be better able to advise you whether or not a type of diet or exercise is compatible with your current health based on how to measure body fat, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or health problems.

Moshy has a brief online questionnaire that you can complete in minutes. From there, our team will then match you with a Moshy doctor and schedule a telehealth consultation at the earliest available schedule or your convenience.

What are the common steps to lose weight?

There are a few known steps to kickstart weight loss while you and your Moshy doctor are working on how to measure body fat for your weight loss plan.

Food and diet

A healthy diet is a convenient way to start losing weight, as disordered eating is often a significant contributor to unwanted weight gain. Knowing what are the best foods for weight loss can thus help us in avoiding them or manage our portions so that we’re only eating healthy amounts.

Moshy can also provide meal replacement shakes or supplemental vitamins to augment your diet if you’re transitioning between diets so that you can still get the nutrients you need without compromising your weight loss progress.


Do you know top exercises for belly fat? Physical activity is a reliable way to lose weight, but you don’t need to seek high-impact exercises to see results. Low-impact workouts are also just as effective, depending on your doctor’s advice.

Speak with your Moshy doctor about coaching through a weight loss plan that includes brief exercises you can do at home. After a few weeks of 10-minute crunches a day, it will all add up.

Evidence-based treatments

Sometimes, you need some help to reach your goals. What causes fat in the liver or other organs may be causing sudden weight gain and require a pharmaceutical treatment to address it.[7]

Because every person’s health is unique to their person, consulting with your Moshy doctor before embarking on a new prescription or over-the-counter weight loss medication is a must. This is to avoid further complications that may exacerbate the health condition, causing a sudden weight gain or preventing weight loss.

Can I accurate calculate my BFP at home?

While there are ways how to measure body fat from the comfort of your own home, your doctor will still need to verify your measurements to ensure that you receive the best care or advice. The following suggestions should not be taken as directly-approved methods for all use cases.

Here are two examples of how to measure body fat at home.

Body circumference measurements. Also known as the circumference method (CM), this way of measuring body fat is inexpensive and requires only a tape measure. The CM uses measurements taken around the neck and waist for men and neck, waist, and hips for women for calculating body fat using the following equations:[8]

  • For men: 86.010 x log10 (waist - neck) - 70.041 x log10 (height) + 36.76 = BFP
  • For women: 163.205 x log10 (waist + hip - neck) - 97.684 x log10 (height) - 78.387 = BFP

This method does require precise and accurate measurements, as well as some familiarity with anatomy, as the placement of the tape must also be precise and accurate.

Smart scales or body fat scales. This method uses a smart scale with a tool called a foot-to-foot impedance metre.[9]

This tool utilises the foot function index (FFI) to measure or check body fat and muscle mass. This does so by sending electrical currents through the body and measuring its response to the current based on these responses. Because fat and muscle respond differently to electrical currents, the metre can, in theory, extrapolate the person’s BFP, among others.[10]

The drawback to this method on how to measure body fat is that while it’s reasonably accessible, the tool’s accuracy varies between manufacturers, and its results are still subject to peer testing and review.

The science surrounding how is body fat percentage calculated is still continuously being researched and studied, and more improvements are coming soon. That being said, until we get there, working in tandem with your Moshy doctor is an effective way of safely and effectively reaching weight loss goals, even from the comfort of your own home.

Learn how to measure body fat in a medically supported way. Speak with a Moshy doctor today.

10 References


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