Sometimes, however, those who are fat use these possible differences as an explanation
is really overfatness. How can we make the distinction? Skinfold thicknesses are a convenient
practical way to assess body fatness. Look in the mirror and see where there are bulges of
with associated fat. Around the abdomen 'the pinch test' can be used; a fold of skin should not
exceed 25 millimetres (one inch). The distribution of body fat is also important - fat around the
abdomen is a greater risk to health than around the hips. Changes in fat in these two locations
be followed by checking circumferences with a tape measure.
The relationship between weight and height is also a guide to overfatness. As height increases, so muscle and bone mass should increase, but fat less so. Thus, if the weight increase is disproportionate to height, it usually indicates overfatness. The way to calculate and assess this relationship is to divide weight (kilograms) by height squared (metres), which is to say height multiplied by itself. This expression is known as BMI (body mass index).
BMI = weight (kg)
height (m)X height (m)
The healthy range for BMI is 20 to 25. This is suitable for moderately physically active
person who engages in muscle building may increase their BMI with muscle rather than fat.
once BMI exceeds 30, there is definite overfatness. Likewise, a person who is inactive and
undergoes muscle wasting may have a low BMI and still too much fat. (See BEING YERY FAT IS UNHEALTHY).
It is a fact that many obese (overfat) people tend to have relatively more muscle and
density than people of normal weight. So it is possible for people to be both overfat and big
boned. Frame size can be assessed by measuring the distance across the wrist or the elbow
there is usually little fat and no muscle to add to the measurements. People whose elbow
is smaller than that shown in the table on Elbow
Breadth are considered to be small framed and
those whose elbow is larger, are considered to have a large frame.
Appendix 1 is a table of weight in relation to height which takes into account variations in frame size.
MEASUREMENT OF ELBOW BREADTH
|Side view showing a right angle
Elbow breadth is measured by first raising the right arm to the horizontal position and
elbow to form a right angle. Locate the bony protuberances on either side of the elbow and
measure the distance between them. It is best done with someone else making the
ideally by using a pair of calipers.
|Height*||Elbow breadth||Height*||Elbow breadth|
* Height measurement assumes that a person is wearing shoes with heels of 2.5 cm.