body fat

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The amount of fat in a human body. It is usually expressed as a percentage of total body weight. An average adult male has about 15–17% body fat: and an average female has about 25% body fat. Athletes, especially those involved in vigorous activities, tend to have low body fat. Body fat can be measured directly by cadaver dissection analysis, but it is usually estimated from body density, for example, by using the Siri equation: percentage body fat = (495/body density) – 450. Other methods of estimating body fat include skinfold measurements, ultrasound, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and on special scales using bioelectrical impedance. The absolute body fat is the total weight of fat in the body. It is the product of percentage body fat and total body weight.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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