Body Composition

There are many ways to test your body composition including your BMI (body mass index), waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio.

- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Waist Circumference
- Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your body mass index, or more commonly referred to as your BMI, is one of the most popular methods of determining your body composition. Basically, the calculation simply uses your weight and height to determine your BMI.

Advantages: BMI is very simple to determine, and is a very good initial test of your body composition. Those with a high BMI in the overweight or obese categoy or at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Disadvantages: Your body type is not taken into account. If you're very muscular, your BMI will be high, possibly putting you in the obese category, even though you're likely to be in great shape. On the opposite end, you may do no exercising so have very little muscle mass, and your BMI may be in the healthy range even though your body fat percentage may be unhealthily high.

To calculate your BMI, and for additional information about BMI, go to our BMI Calculator page.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Weight Range
BMI Category
Bronze Underweight < 18.5
Gold Normal Weight
18.5 - 24.9
Silver Overweight 25.0 - 29.9
Bronze Obese > 30.0

Waist Circumference

Your waist circumference is a very good indicator of your risk for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. If your waist circumference falls in the bronze category, you're likely carrying additional fat around your waist that is encroaching your vital organs. Start your fitness program today. Too low of a waist measurement could also indicate a health issue. Your doctor should be your main resource for determining a healthy waist measurement.

There are a couple of different beliefs of where the waist should be measured. For our gold/silver/bronze grid, measure your waist at the narrowest part of your mid-section. The location is likely to be just above your bellybutton.

Waist Circumference
Risk Category
Gold Very low
< 27.5 in
< 31.5 in
Silver Low 27.5 - 35.0 in 31.5 - 39.0 in
Bronze High 35.5 - 43.0 in 39.5 - 47.0 in
Very high > 43.0 in > 47.0 in

Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Having an excess of body fat increases your chance for many health issues. But the location of your excess body fat many be one of the best indicators.

Those with excessive body fat on their hips and thighs are referred to as having a "gynoid" shape, commonly known as pear-shaped. Those with excessive fat along their waist are referred to as having an "android" shaped, commonly known as apple-shaped.

Too much body fat should be worked on no matter where it's located on your body, but those with android shapes are at a greater risk for health issues than those with gynoid shapes.

To find out your waist-to-hip ratio, go to our Waist-to-Hip Ratio page. Those that fall in the bronze category are at an increase of risk.

Waist-to-Hip Ratios
Risk Category
Gold Excellent
< 0.75
< 0.85
Silver Good 0.75 - 0.79 0.85 - 0.89
Average 0.80 - 0.86 0.90 - 0.95
Bronze At Risk > 0.86 > 0.95

Return to our Fitness Tests main page.

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