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Old 01-18-2014, 01:24 PM   #1
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Body fat question

I have a question for my smart DODOs

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a healthy body fat percentage for a woman 41-63 years old is 23%-35%. Yet depending on who you consult, for a woman, a body fat of over 30/32/35% is considered obese (I've seen all three of those figures). So how can 35% body fat be both obese and healthy?

Also, on many charts, in my age group 22% fat is called "underfat."
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:46 PM   #2
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You are right. It's very confusing because when I Google it I get numbers all over the place. Some sites just talk about women in general and don't put an age to it.

Here is a chart I found on one site:

Women
Age ---------Underfat -Healthy Range -Overweight -Obese

20-40 yrs ---- Under 21% --- 21-33% --- 33-39% --- Over 39%
41-60 yrs ---- Under 23% --- 23-35% ---35-40% --- Over 40%
61-79 yrs ---- Under 24% ---24-36% --- 36-42% ---Over 42%

Last edited by Yam-Yam; 01-18-2014 at 01:57 PM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:53 PM   #3
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Sorry! That didn't copy so well. But I think you can figure it out.

I've always heard that anything under 18% is unhealthy for the average woman.

I had mine tested way back when I was in my 40's and it was 21%.

Right now I'm not going to think about it. I'm prioritizing. First I want to lose weight using a regular digital scale to keep track. Then, I want to get into a long term habit of weight training and cardio (every other day). I'm working on both of those. Next, I have three pairs of pants - capris and jeans - that I want to fit into by the time we take our next trip which is to Palm Springs in a few weeks. I got two pairs buttoned and zipped! Now to progress so they won't look like second skin! I'm trying all three on every morning right after I get off the scale whether it's a DD or an UD.

I book marked the site you recommended about the body fat testing truck that comes to Roseville and maybe in 6 months or so I'll consider doing that.

Thanks for telling us about that! I never even heard of a traveling fat testing truck. Who knew? And I don't think $49 is expensive at all for something so important.

BTW we don't live too far from Roseville. I have not been there in a long time. I used to go to the Galleria mall when it first opened.
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:08 PM   #4
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Dr. Mercola says:

Remember that it is FAR better to monitor your body fat percentage than it is your total weight, as the body fat percentage is what dictates metabolic health or dysfunction -- not your total weight.

also:
If you're not sure if you have a healthy waist circumference, a general guide is:

For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:10 PM   #5
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ooh, I like your chart, Yam. It says I'm not even obese!
unfortunately, I think it's in the minority opinion for the obesity label.
I'm still obese by the waist measurement criteria above.

Last edited by calichris; 01-18-2014 at 02:13 PM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:21 PM   #6
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p.s. Yam I would love to meet sometime! Maybe when you come up for your test?

Last edited by calichris; 01-18-2014 at 02:23 PM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:33 PM   #7
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p.s. Yam I would love to meet sometime! Maybe when you come up for your test?
I was thinking that too!


Oh, good reminder about the waist measurement. I was well below it last year. Have not been brave enough to get out the tape measure since I've been back to JUDDDing. I'm going to keep things simple. First I'll wear the next pair of pants I want to wear. Then I'll start measuring the waist. Baby steps.
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:42 PM   #8
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I'm going to throw out another loosely-related quote in here. I'm researching today.

"I try to remind my clients when your clothes are getting looser and the number on the scale remains the same, it’s actually great news. It means you are losing fat, and inches while preserving and building your lean muscle ...."

This trainer recommends two heavy lifting days (low reps, high weights), two days of circuit training (different muscle groups, lighter weights, more reps), and one day of long, easy endurance training (such as 60 minutes of walking or easy cycling).

[I think HIIT is a good thing too.]

She concludes with this:
"Keep in mind that the number on the scale may not move in either direction, but as long as inches are decreasing, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, a tape measure would be more appropriate than a scale in trying to lose fat while maintaining/building lean muscle."
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:09 PM   #9
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It's very unhelpful but it's for a number of demographic reasons as that age group crosses the menopause and the onset of age-related sarcopenia (loss of LBM - estimated at 10% per decade). Plus, 'healthy' body fat differs according to race and genetic make-up as well as other reasons.
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yam-Yam View Post
You are right. It's very confusing because when I Google it I get numbers all over the place. Some sites just talk about women in general and don't put an age to it.

Here is a chart I found on one site:

Women
Age ---------Underfat -Healthy Range -Overweight -Obese

20-40 yrs ---- Under 21% --- 21-33% --- 33-39% --- Over 39%
41-60 yrs ---- Under 23% --- 23-35% ---35-40% --- Over 40%
61-79 yrs ---- Under 24% ---24-36% --- 36-42% ---Over 42%
I use that range, plus this information:



Together, they tell me that aiming for the low 20s is a lofty, but hopefully achievable, goal for me as a 40 yo non-athlete. If I get stuck in the mid-20s, I won't be hurt.

So my goal is based on 21-23% BF right now, and I'll reevaluate as I get closer.

As a side note, Even if I got down to 20%, I'd still be obese, according to BMI.
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:14 PM   #11
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Good point, SS. I'm pretty sure I won't be feeling I'm at my healthy range at 35% but that would make sense as I'm in the lower half of the age range and pre-menopausal.

Right now I'm thinking 23-25% might be about right, but really you have to get there before you know.

Last edited by calichris; 01-18-2014 at 03:15 PM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:36 PM   #12
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Does anyone have experience with those scales that measure weight and body fat %? I have one of the newest and I think it's pretty accurate because I know that I have quite a bit of body fat to lose. The BMI charts put me at only 22%. My scale says that I have 34%!!. Also my waist is 33" and I'm 5'3", so I think it's correct. My husband who is really obese has less body fat % than me but he also looks much more firmer.

My scale is a Withings Body Analyzer.
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:38 PM   #13
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Yes. I posted about it a couple of days ago, let me find the post.
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:40 PM   #14
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:40 PM   #15
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Here it is. BIG disappointment. I still use the scale for weight, as that's very accurate, but no longer pay a bit of attention to the BF%.

Oh, and yes I would follow the instructions exactly, in terms of being properly hydrated and so on.
Quote:
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I used to swear by my BIA scale, because it gave me a result very close to caliper testing I got done at the gym. When I finally got the dunk test, I was appalled to find that the BIA AND caliper results were vastly underestimating my LBM, and overstating my BF% by about 15%. That's a huge amount, but because both were giving me the same results (with different trainers at the calipers), I was confident.
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:45 PM   #16
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I know that the water dunking test is the best method available for testing body fat. I guess I will just need to get some money together and have it done. It is low priority for now so I'll just keep working on this belly fat.
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:50 PM   #17
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Where are you in CA?
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:31 PM   #18
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I ordered a handheld body fat monitor today (the highest rated one on Amazon). I thought about it for a long time, because I know the electrical impedance method is not very accurate, but I liked Mike's point that even if it isn't, if you use the same instrument over a period of time you might get some valid fat loss/gain tracking information. I'll let you know if it is anywhere near the hydrostatic body fat percentage test I just did.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:16 PM   #19
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Cool. I'd be very interested in the experience of others who have had either DEXA or hydrostatic testing.

I just looked right now, and mine said I was at 62.5% BF, while the truth is that I'm somewhere in the 48-48.5% range (I go back again next month).
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I ordered a handheld body fat monitor today (the highest rated one on Amazon). I thought about it for a long time, because I know the electrical impedance method is not very accurate, but I liked Mike's point that even if it isn't, if you use the same instrument over a period of time you might get some valid fat loss/gain tracking information. I'll let you know if it is anywhere near the hydrostatic body fat percentage test I just did.
I have a handheld one. It measures about the same as my Tanita Body Monitor scale. So, if the scale is off the handheld is too. I'll be anxious to see what you think. Mike has a good point and when I was using the scale to monitor BF% closely while working out with a personal trainer over a number of months that was my theory. At least I saw it going down.

Quote:
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Good point, SS. I'm pretty sure I won't be feeling I'm at my healthy range at 35% but that would make sense as I'm in the lower half of the age range and pre-menopausal.

Right now I'm thinking 23-25% might be about right, but really you have to get there before you know.
Good point.

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Where are you in CA?
You were probably asking Chris? We must live pretty close if we both live close to Roseville. DH and I live in the Sierra Foothills about 60 miles SW of South Lake Tahoe. We really like it here! We have lived in northern California for 41 years. The only place I would ever move to is Hawaii. But then we would be too far away from our kids and grand kids. We will probably stay put for the rest of our lives.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:26 PM   #21
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I was asking Felina, to see if she was close enough that we would use the same truck when/if she decided to get tested.

I've lived in Long Beach for eleven years now, and I'm still adjusting to living on the west coast. When does it happen?! I'm here for the foreseeable future, because my mom and stepmom are here until they die. I really like LB as a city, but at heart, I'm a northeasterner.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:30 PM   #22
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Where are you in CA?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yam-Yam View Post
I have a handheld one. You were probably asking Chris? We must live pretty close if we both live close to Roseville. DH and I live in the Sierra Foothills about 60 miles SW of South Lake Tahoe. We really like it here! We have lived in northern California for 41 years. The only place I would ever move to is Hawaii. But then we would be too far away from our kids and grand kids. We will probably stay put for the rest of our lives.
I thought you were asking me. Anyway, I'm pretty far from SoCal, actually pretty close to Yam-Yam. I'm about 45 minutes south of Roseville, in Elk Grove. DH and I go up to Tahoe at least a few times a year. Our weather has been like paradise the last few days, in the lower 70's. We are suffering for it though. They're going to start rationing the water.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:31 PM   #23
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I was asking Felina, to see if she was close enough that we would use the same truck when/if she decided to get tested.

I've lived in Long Beach for eleven years now, and I'm still adjusting to living on the west coast. When does it happen?! I'm here for the foreseeable future, because my mom and stepmom are here until they die. I really like LB as a city, but at heart, I'm a northeasterner.
Oh, where did you come to California from? Sorry if you mentioned it and I missed it.

I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. DH was born and raised in Minnesota. We met in Washington D.C. when we both worked at the U.S. Dep't of Agriculture. That was a fun place to live back then (early 1970s). But we didn't want to raise our kids there.

We LOVE California and don't miss the snow! If we want it, we can easily drive to Heavenly Valley at Tahoe. Of course, this year not so much. We need rain! Pray for rain! The last drought that was this bad was 20 years ago. It lasted 7 years. No flushing. Recycle water from the washing machine. Let the grass die. Yuck. Sorry. I got off track here.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
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I was asking Felina, to see if she was close enough that we would use the same truck when/if she decided to get tested.

I've lived in Long Beach for eleven years now, and I'm still adjusting to living on the west coast. When does it happen?! I'm here for the foreseeable future, because my mom and stepmom are here until they die. I really like LB as a city, but at heart, I'm a northeasterner.
I posted at the same time as you so I don't know if you saw my previous post. I'm in NoCal, not far from Yam-Yam. I don't know if you saw, but I think it was last Thursday that the truck was scheduled to come to Roseville. I haven't been to a body fat testing yet, but I want to go and compare it to my new high-tech scale. Then I'll know if I should pay any attention to that reading or just use it for the weight.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:38 PM   #25
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I saw it and was replying.


Yeah, the drought is horrible. I'm surprised it took the governor until yesterday to declare a state of emergency! And the fires. We haven't had a break lately.

I was raised in the Boston area, but I've lived there, CT, and NYC (and OH, but I don't consider that home--the midwest was really hard for me too).

And I HATE this "winter" weather. It's bad enough (for me) when it's normal SoCal winter, in the 60-70s, with rain sometimes, but this year it's been HOT. I'm just a few blocks from the ocean, and it's been in the mid-80s. That's not acceptable.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:44 PM   #26
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Oh my. Just saw a story on the national news about the mountain lions and BEARS coming on to private property and residential neighborhoods in So Cal looking for water. YIKES!

It's not enough that we have to have fires, but wild animals too? We've had mountain lions in our neighborhood but not lately.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:11 PM   #27
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:17 PM   #28
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yam, where in pa are you from?

thinking about getting some sort of fat measuring device myself.... can't find a dunk tank anywhere around me!
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:19 PM   #29
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yam, where in pa are you from?

thinking about getting some sort of fat measuring device myself.... can't find a dunk tank anywhere around me!
I was born and raised in a little coal mining town called Gallitzin. It's near Altoona. About 80 miles from Pittsburgh. I go back there about twice a year to see my family.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:24 PM   #30
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i've heard of that! we go through altoona to see my sister who lives in murrysville (suburb of Pitt)
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