August 18, 2010

We here at Political Calculations care about your health and well being. Truth be told, we probably care about your health and well-being way more than the federal government does. And because we care more, we're going to put our unique talents to work for you to cut through the proverbial fat to help you estimate just how much of you is made up of, well, fat!

How can we do that? Easy! We're going to use math described in a 2002 paper that appeared in the International Journal of Obesity: The effect of sex, age and race on estimating percentage body fat from body mass index: The Heritage Family Study.

Written by AS Jackson, PR Stanforth, J Gagnon, T Rankinen, AS Leon, DC Rao, JS Skinner, C Bouchard and JH Wilmore, the paper found that one could reasonably estimate an adult's body fat percentage using several different methods, incorporating such data as their Body Mass Index (which is determined by height and weight), their gender and their age. As it happens, the authors found very little measurable difference that can be attributable to race, so the same math can be used for everybody!

We've taken two of their methods to create our newest tool, which will allow you to do the math to estimate your body fat percentage for yourself should some panel of federal bureaucrats decide that the tests that can accurately measure your body fat are too expensive to be covered under your health plan under ObamaCare®.

And best of all, it's totally free! Just enter the indicated data into the tool below and we'll take care of the rest.

Height and Weight Data
Input Data Values Units
Height
Weight
Age and Gender Data
Age
Gender

Your Body Mass Index and Body Fat Percentage
Calculated Results Values
Body Mass Index
Your Estimated Body Fat Percentage (Based on Body Mass Index and Gender Only)

Now that we've estimated your body fat percentage, you can use the chart below to determine if it might qualify as being a health risk for you. "Obese" and "underfat" will represent the most significant possible indication for you, however you may have some body-fat related health concerns if you qualify as being "overfat" for your age.

But that leads to a good question - what if you need to more accurately determine your body fat percentage?

There are a number of devices you might consider that can give you a more accurate picture of your body composition, ranging from very inexpensive calipers, which require some expertise to use effectively, to some pretty sophisticated bathroom scales that measure your body's bioelectrical impedance to determine your body fat percentage in the lower half of your body:

We're afraid we don't know if ObamaCare's federal excise tax on medical devices would apply for any of these products.

Image Credit: The image of a person standing on their scale is courtesy of the National Institute of Health. Meanwhile, we borrowed the Body Fat Ranges for Standard Adults chart from scale and body composition monitor maker Tanita.

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Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

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