Body mass index (BMI)
BMI measures body fat based on height and weight in adult men and women, according to the National Institutes of Health. BMI is broken down into four categories:
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- Overweight = 25–29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
The NIH has a calculator you can use to measure your BMI. There’s also a weight and height chart you can read to learn where you fall in regards to your body mass index.
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
Your waist-to-hip ratio is the proportion of your waist circumference compared to your hip circumference, the University of Alabama, Birmingham reported. It is calculated by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference.
You can use a measuring tape to measure the distance around the smallest part of your waist, which is usually just above the belly button. You can also use a measuring tape to measure the distance around the largest part of your hips, which is typically the widest part of the buttocks.
UAB has a WHR calculator here.
The results can show abdominal obesity measurements. According to the World Health Organization, abdominal obesity is greater than 0.85 in women and greater than 0.9 in men.
Body fat percentage
The weight of your fat divided by your total weight equals your body fat percentage, according to Medical News Today.
Total body fat includes essential fat, which is necessary to survive, and storage fat, which is fatty tissue that protects internal organs in the abdomen and chest.
The most common method of measuring body fat is via a skinfold measurement, which pinches the skin using calipers.
The American Council on Exercise recommends the following body fat percentages:
- Athletes: 6-13% for male body type, 14-20% for female body type
- Fit non-athletes: 14-17% male body type, 21-24% female body type
- Acceptable: 18-25% male body type, 25-31% female body type
- Overweight: 26-37% male body type, 32-41% female body type
- Obesity: 38% or more for male body type, 42% or more for female body type