Term: Spring 09 Updated Fall '12
Body fat to muscle ratio is usually represented by the person’s body fat percentage. There are several ways one can measure this, often the cheapest way is to use a pair of skinfold calipers. Water scales, in which the person is weighed sitting in water is another way. A Bod Pod is one of the most accurate ways to measure one’s body fat to muscle ratio (Cosgrove). After routine measurements are taken (height and weight etc.) once simply sits in a sealed egg shaped chamber and air displacement and pressure changes are measured. A computer takes in all the data and prints out the users body fat to muscle ratio.

This is easier than the old fashion way of submerging a person in water and measuring the water displacement, even though this is the gold standard.

  • Obesity is a serious health concern, and knowing your body fat to muscle ratio can lower your risks for certain diseases, and health conditions.
    • If Americans stick to their eating and exercise habits, future historians will look back on the early 21st century as a golden age of svelte. (Reuters)
  • Athletes often measure their body fat to muscle ratio to keep track of their progress.

Ways to calculate BMI:
1. BMI calculator: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/
2. Waist Circumference:
  1. Place a tape measure around your waist immediately above the tip of your hipbone.
  2. Measure your waist after exhaling.
  3. Determine your health risk. For women, a waist measurement of 31.5 inches or more indicates high risk. For men, a waist measurement of 37 inches or more indicates high risk.
3. Mathematical forumla:
BMI = [
weight in pounds
(height in inches) x (height in inches)
] x 703
For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds and is 5 feet 3 inches tall has a BMI of 26.5.
150 lbs.
(63 inches) x (63 inches)
] x 703 = 26.5

Flaws of BMI: Some flaws with BMI are found when using the calculations on athletes. Shaquille O'Neal was famously found as obese on the BMI graph due to his extreme height and weight recordings. In fact, many times BMI studies on athletes were found to be mistake prone, as the BMI calculations do not take into account the amount of muscle an individual has, and instead just focuses on the raw weight.

Instead of going through the internet to get an accurate BMI reading, another option might be to look into an App, like the BMI Calculator and Weight Tracker by NG Apps.

BMI Calculator.jpg

Features include: (iTunes)
  • BMI Calculation can be completed in 2 seconds
  • Weight can be entered in kilograms or pounds
  • Height can be entered in centimeters or inches
  • Height is remembered, so you don't need to enter it every time
  • Results are displayed as BMI units and as body category (underweight, normal, overweight or obese)
  • By pressing one button the result can be added to your personal diary
  • The username and password feature protects your personal diary data and allows you to access your stored data if you change device
  • Ideal weight calculator included
  • Reminder for tracking your BMI and weight and never forget it
Also offers a video:

Web Resources:

Related Terminology:
  • BMI
  • Body fat
  • Muscle
  • Hydroxycut


Cosgrove, M. (2009) Bod Pod Student Project. October 9th , 2009, from WCU Quad. Website:http://media.www.wcuquad.com/media/storage/paper676/news/2009/04/20/Features/Bod-Pod.Student.Project.Measures.Body.Fat.To.Muscle.Ratio-3717547.shtml

(2009) Body Composition. October 8th , 2009, from Wikipedia.

Wilson, S (2009) BMI. October 9th, 2009, from How Stuff Works.