Personal Body Fat Tester

Skinfold calipers are used in the measurement of skinfold thickness and the estimation of total body fat. There are a range of skinfold calipers available, including the following simple budget model. See also the similar Fat Measure Skinfold Caliper.

The Personal Body Fat Tester is a very low cost caliper for the measurement of body fat percent is lightweight and easy to use. This is a very basic caliper, though it surprisingly gives quite repeatable and accurate measurements when used correctly. Its small lightweight size makes it suitable for taking your own skinfold measurements in the privacy of your home, and there are charts provided so you can easily convert the measurements to percent body fat. 

skinfold caliper imageFeatures

skinfold caliper imageHow to Use

There are many possible skinfold sites to use for body fat calculation, though not all are appropriate if you are taking your own measurement. The site recommended when using these calipers is the suprailliac, and there are charts available for converting this measure to a percent bodyfat. It is standard for measurements to be taken on the right side of the body.

The location of suprailliac is approximately one inch above the point of the hip bone (according to the documents that come with the calipers). More accurately, the mark is at the intersection of a line joining the front part of hip bone to the front fold of the armpit, and a horizontal line at the level of the top of the hip bone at the side (see supraspinale/suprailliac). Most importantly, make sure that the same location is used each time you take a measurement.

Hold the caliper in your right hand, and take a pinch at the site with your left hand to raise a double layer of skin and the underlying adipose tissue, but not the muscle. The pinch is directed towards the center line and downward, following the natural fold of the skin (at an approximate angle of 45 degrees). Then place the jaws of the caliper over the skinfold which continuing to pinch the skin. Press the thumb on the caliper arm where the word 'PRESS' is written, until the arrows are aligned. You can now take a reading off the scale. You should take at least two measurements. If the two measurements differ greatly, a third should then be done, then the median value taken.

Refer to the male and female fat measurement charts that come with the calipers to determine your body fat percent. Look for your age group, the move across to the appropriate fat measure reading in millimeters. You can then see a percentage score, and below a rating of lean, ideal, average or above average.

For more information see the complete guidelines for taking skinfold measurements.

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