Sports Nutrition: Body Composition Screening and Education
Excess fat (not excess weight) is linked with many physical and emotional problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health issues. Body fat can best be measured by using skin-fold measurement (+/-3% error rate) or by a test called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Other body fat tests can be affected by many factors and are more prone to error, so may not give true results.
Another way to assess health is to use body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. BMI does not cost much and is easy to do, thus is a useful way to check for weight ranges that may lead to health problems. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as under-water weighing and DXA.
Adult BMI Chart
|Underweight||BMI less than 18.5|
|Healthy Weight||BMI greater than 18.5-24.9|
|Morbidly Obese||BMI greater than 40|
Waist circumference is an indicator of your belly fat (or visceral fat), which is related to your risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Risk increases with a waist circumference of 40 inches (or greater) in men and 35 inches (or greater) in women.
BMI for children and teens
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend the use of BMI to screen for overweight and obesity in children starting at 2 years old.
After BMI is calculated for children and teens, the BMI number is plotted on the CDC BMI-for-age growth charts (for either girls or boys) to obtain a percentile ranking. This ranking is the way most health care providers in the USA use to assess the size and growth patterns of individual children. The percentile shows the relative position of the child's BMI number among children of the same sex and age. The chart on page 2 shows the weight status categories used with children and teens (underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese).
|Weight Status Category||Percentile Range|
|Underweight||Less than the 5th percentile|
|Healthy Weight||5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile|
|Overweight||85th to less than the 95th percentile|
|Obese||Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile|
Current Weight __________
Estimated Height __________
Body Mass Index (BMI) _______
Waist Circumference __________
Nutrition goals to achieve a healthy weight:
Exercise goals to achieve a healthy weight:
BMI information and charts obtained from:
Many insurance providers will cover nutrition counseling for conditions resulting from or related to obesity. Contact your insurance company to learn whether they will pay for all or some of the costs.
UW Health West Clinic
UW Health East Clinic
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/17/2013
Copyright © 01/08/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#358
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