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The body mass index formula is an equation based on body weight adjusted for height. It is mostly used by doctors to diagnose patients that are overweight or obese. Its primary purpose is to provide an estimation of body fat percentage in relation to an individuals height and weight. It is not, however a completely accurate assessment and many health professionals will agree. You need to take into consideration peoples overall body composition and age. For instance, muscular people will have a higher body mass index than those that have less muscle, such as the elderly. When two people have the same body mass index it does not necessarily mean that they have the same body fat percentage. For example, men generally will have a lower body fat percentage than women. Knowing that the BMI formula does not measure body fat percentage should help you in assessing the sate of your obese childs health.

Body Fat Percentage The Big Picture

It is first helpful to know what percentage of your obese childs total weight is comprised of fat. There are several methods available of doing this. However, it is worth noting that you already know the body fat percentage of your child is higher than it should be so proper nutrition and exercise is the best solution. For those who are curious here are a few examples.

Hydrostatic Weighing

Also known as underwater weighing. This is by far the most accurate means to calculate fat percentage

but it can be rather expensive and is not something that can be done at home. This method is performed by being totally submerged in water. Knowing that fat is less dense than muscle and bones it is fairly easy to calculate the fat percentage .

Body Fat Calipers

This is a much more affordable alternative and is readily available. Use the calipers to take a pinch of skin and record the measurements. This is usually done at several different locations of your body and it is recommended to use the same location when you check on your progress. You then use a formula to determine the body fat percentage. If you plan on using this method my advice is not to purchase the cheap calipers they are not very accurate.

Bioelectrical Impedence Analysis or BIA

This method uses body fat scales that send a safe small electrical current through the body to calculate the amount of body fat tissue. Your body fat percentage is then calculated based on height, weight, age and sex. It is a harmless method and fairly accurate. These scales are available in the marketplace and reasonably priced.

The Final Analysis

Helping your child overcome obesity is a challenge. Sometimes it is best to have some facts and figures enabling them to compare their overall progress. The starting point would be to first know what their ideal weight should be. This way they have a goal to reach. At first it may appear to be an unattainable goal so you need to offer encouragement and even volunteer to participate. Design a chart that you can use to record the body mass index formula results in and set a schedule for checking on their progress. Maybe set up a file on the computer to keep track of their progress.

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