Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
Many people fret about how much they weigh. The real issue of
concern is what percentage of their body weight is made up of
fat. The ideal is about 16 percent for men and about 22 percent
for women. Standard height and weight charts ignore this issue.
Here's a simple test to do at home to determine if you are
fat, or exceed the average level of body fat.
Pinch a fold of skin from these three areas.
Upper side of
Midway up the back
of the thighs
Just to one side
of your abdomen
Measure the thickness with a skin caliper or ruler. If you can
pinch 1 inch or less of flesh, your body fat level is low or
moderate. Every 1/4 inch above that represents 10 pounds of
Knowing your level of body fat is critical if you've been on a
crash diet or if you've lost weight quickly, because unless
you've been exercising regularly, the loss may be in muscle
tissue, not in actual body fat. In other words, you may look
slimmer, but still be overfat. A scale will not show
this, but a measurement of body fat will.