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How to Convert BMI to Body Fat Percentage

by
author image Marie Bell
Marie Bell has earned a Bachelor of Science in sports medicine and is currently working toward a Doctor of Medicine. She has a passion for health and wellness and shares her knowledge in her writing.
How to Convert BMI to Body Fat Percentage
Body fat percentage can be estimated using body mass index. Photo Credit Stephen Bonk/iStock/Getty Images

Body mass index, or BMI, and body fat percentage are two different methods for determining a person's body type. BMI doesn't consider differences in fat or muscle mass. Therefore, a person with a muscular physique can be misclassified using BMI. Body fat percentage, however, gives a more accurate picture of body composition but is generally more time-consuming and expensive to determine. Since, BMI closely correlates with the amount of excess body fat, the body fat percentage can be estimated using the equations established and published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1991 by nutrition researchers Paul Deurenberg, Jan Weststrate and Jaap Seidell. The formulas estimate the female body fat percentage to equal 1.2(BMI) + 0.23(age(y)) – 5.4 and the male body fat percentage to equal 1.2(BMI) + 0.23(age(y)) – 16.2.

Females

Step 1

Multiply your BMI by 1.2.

Step 2

Multiply your age by 0.23.

Step 3

Add the result of Step 1 to the result of Step 2.

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Step 4

Subtract 5.4 from the result of Step 3 to get your body fat percentage.

Males

Step 1

Multiply your BMI by 1.2.

Step 2

Multiply your age by 0.23.

Step 3

Add the result of Step 1 to the result of Step 2.

Step 4

Subtract 16.2 from the result of Step 3 to get your body fat percentage.

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References

  • "British Journal of Nutrition"; Body Mass Index as a Measure of Body Fatness: Age- and Sex-specific Prediction Formulas; Paul Deurenberg PhD, Jan A. Weststrate PhD, Jaap C. Seidell PhD; 1991
  • "DeGowin's Diagnostic Examination, 9e, Chapter 4"; Richard F. LeBlond MD, Donald D. Brown MD, Richard L. DeGowin MD; 2009
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