Is Body Fat the Best Measure of Health?

Is Body Fat the Best Measure of Health?

Most people are familiar with the term “body fat,” usually associating it with obesity, heart disease, cholesterol levels and general unhealthiness. Despite negative implications when too much fat is carried on your body, some fat is required by the body for proper functioning, metabolic purposes and general health. The key to good health is in finding your right balance between a healthy percentage of carried fat and an unhealthy percentage.

When food is consumed, your body produces its own fat through absorption of the food’s fatty content. In breaking down these consumed fats, your body generates glycerol and fatty acids. Those two fat byproducts are then released into the body for its own use.

Glycerol is processed in your liver, becoming glucose stored as an energy reserve. Fatty acids produced from consumed foods provide energy for cardiac muscles, skeletal muscles and all major tissues. Obviously, without enough glycerol and fatty acids in your body, you will not function well.

Other uses of fats in the body include:

  • Maintenance of healthy skin, nails and hair
  • Body temperature maintenance
  • Energy reserves
  • Smooth cellular functioning
  • Cushioning of organs and tissues
  • Bone shock absorption
  • Absorption of vitamins which require fats for processing, such as A, E, D and K
  • Protection of the body from ailments
  • Healthy reproductive system maintenance in women

How Much is Too Much Fat on Your Body?

Despite requiring fat for healthy functioning, having too much physically-carried fat can negatively impact your body. Stored fats are excess amounts not used or burned off by your body. When such surplus accumulates, obesity may result. Being obese causes a wide spectrum of health problems like arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and respiratory problems.

In order to remain in healthy balance and prevent obesity-associated health problems, it is important to be aware of your own physical fat percentage and how it measures up against ideals established by the scientific community. Knowing fat percentage also helps determine ideal weight as a goal for healthy weight loss. The best benefit of losing excess fat is that by doing so, your body returns to good health and many obesity-associated health problems disappear.

There are a multitude of ways to measure fat on your individual physical frame. Some of the most popular methods are easy calculations using standard fat calculators developed by branches of the military, the