Body Fat Formulas -

Body Fat Formulas to Calculate Body Fat Percentage

How to Choose a Formula for % Body Fat?

The variety of formulas to calculate body fat percentage can create confusion when determining which to use. You should choose a formula according the next considerations: 

  1. Number of people to measure and time available to take measurements.  
  2. Age and gender of the person(s) to be measured.
  3. Physical condition of the person(s) to be measured: is the subject sedentially, highly fit, or an athlete?  
  4. How much training you have with the skinfold measurement technique.

All skinfolds equations are based on research that was conducted on different groups of individuals with a variety of ages, sex and ethnicities, which could generate discrepancies in the results according to the person to be measured using each formula, and likewise, each formula differs in the number of skinffolds to be measured:

  • Less skinfold sites (2 - 3) = less time to complete, less precision in the results.
  • More skinfolds sites (4 - 9) = more time to complete, more precise.

Formulas for Calculating % Body Fat

  • Jackson - Pollock 7: measurement of 7 skinfolds, age between 18 and 61 years, differs between men and women, for general population and fit.
  • Jackson - Pollock 4: measurement of 4 skinfolds, age between 18 and 61 years, differs between men and women, for general population and fit.
  • Parillo: measurement of 9 skinfolds, any age, equal for men and women, for general population.
  • Slaughter – Lohman: measurement of 2 skinfolds, age between 8 and 18 years, differs between boys and girls, for general population.
  • Yuhasz: measurement of 6 skinfolds, any age, differs between men and women, for high performance athletes or bodybuilders.
  • Boileau: measurement of 2 skinfolds, age between 6 and 18 years, differs between men and women, for high performance athletes, mainly wrestling.
  • Durnin-Womersley: measurement of 4 skinfolds, age between 17 and 72 years, differs between men and women, for general population.

These formulas are very well established and commonly used in the USA.  There are many more formulas as well, including from researchers from other countries, and for specific ethnic populations. 

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