The following calculator gives you an estimate of your % body fat and lean body mass based on your weight, age, and thickness measurements of 7 skin folds. It is based on the Jackson-Pollock 7-point method and is reasonably accurate for most people. This method, however, like almost all popular skin fold methods, tends to underestimate body fat levels in very lean bodybuilders.
NOTE: Because of the nature of some of the skin fold locations for the 7-point method you will need someone to take some of these measurements for you.
To perform each measurement:
Using the tips of your thumb and forefinger pinch the skin in the area to be measured. Pull the skin away from the muscle, being sure to ‘get’ all the subcutaneous fat underneath the skin but don’t include the underlying muscle. Measure the thickness of this fold of fat and skin, in millimeters, with either a ruler (metric) or skinfold calipers. If you do have calipers, the jaws should be placed close to where the fingertips have the skin pinched so an accurate reading can be obtained (about 1 cm (1/4 in) away from the fingers). Release the caliper’s handles and wait 2 seconds before taking the reading. Take a reading of that same site a few more times (release the fold and get a new ‘pinch’ for each measurement) and take the average – each reading should be within 1 or 2 mm of each other. If you don’t have calipers you’ll have to make do with a ruler. The location of each required skin fold is explained below.
Why do we need a BMI calculator for men?
We have seen that the BMI formula does not include a provision for gender. So why do we need a BMI calculator for men? The answer is that adults and children/adolescents are anthropomorphically different, and even among adults, men and women have different body characteristics. This means that we should not expect the healthy BMI for men to be the same as for women, and the same goes for BMI tables for men and women or BMI ranges for men and women.
By and large, we could compare men and women, and we wouldn't be far from reality. Take a look at our BMI calculator for a general approach to this topic.
Here we will focus only on the BMI tables for men and all the corresponding values and BMI ranges for the male population. We will start in the next section with the different BMI categories, why they exist and what they mean.
World Health Organization and BMI categories
There are almost countless possibilities when defining the different BMI ranges for men, which is also the reason why there are several official ways to classify the normal BMI for men. For the remainder of this text, we refer to the guidelines presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) on page 9 of their report: Obesity: prevention and management of the global epidemic. The WHO classification and categorization results in three broad BMI ranges for men (as mentioned above: underweight, normal/healthy weight, and overweight).
However, each of these categories can be further subdivided to distinguish between mild overweight and hyperobesity on the one hand and mild underweight and severe malnutrition on the other. In our calculations, we use the broadest of the BMI groupings, so that we have a total of 11 different BMI ranges for men. As mentioned earlier, different organizations have different ways of grouping BMI values for men, but most thresholds are the same or reasonably spaced.
It is important to note that even the WHO recognizes that BMI is a statistical parameter. This means that having a healthy BMI for men does not automatically mean you are a healthy man. If you have a healthy BMI for men, you are just statistically more likely to be healthy than if you are outside the normal BMI. We will discuss the relationship between BMI and health in more detail in a later section.
Healthy BMI prime and normal BMI
Another measure you should be aware of is what is known as BMI prime. BMI prime is a derived measure that compares your BMI value as a man to the normal BMI for men or the healthy BMI for men. BMI prime is also available for other populations, but since this is a BMI calculator for men, we will only focus on the male side of BMI prime.
We've mentioned a healthy BMI for men, but we still need to define what that is exactly, so let's do that now. And here comes the bad news: there is no biological reason why a certain BMI is healthy and another is not, it's all statistical. But all is not lost, because the statistical origin of BMI guarantees that it has some accuracy for large populations, if not for individuals.
WHO recognizes the shortcomings of BMI as the only tool for assessing ideal body weight and therefore recommends more in-depth analysis for accurate diagnosis. WHO also acknowledges that BMI is accurate only for sedentary people and not for very active people, growing children, or frail people.
One of the most obvious shortcomings of BMI is its application to professional athletes. Because of the high percentage of lean mass they have (muscle has a higher density than fat), most professional athletes are "technically" overweight or even obese according to BMI. So remember, BMI is not the be-all and end-all of healthy body weight and has a limited scope.
Now that we know the limitations of BMI and that a healthy BMI for men does not mean it is healthy for all men, we can explain BMI prime in depth. BMI prime is a number that is calculated by comparing your actual BMI to your normal BMI or healthy BMI, which should be less than 25. If you divide your BMI by the reference value of 25 (healthy BMI for men), you will get your BMI prime.
BMI prime is a number that is hopefully very close to one, because that is the ideal value we should strive for if we are part of the sedentary male population. A BMI prime of less than one represents an underweight person, while an overweight person has a BMI prime greater than one. As with actual BMI, there are ranges for a healthy weight. So don't worry if you have a sedentary job and a BMI of 0.98; you're on a good path!
How to change BMI and maintain a healthy body weight
You should now know what your BMI is, but you may be wondering what you can do if it is not within the values of a healthy BMI for men. The answer can be very complicated depending on your individual situation, but we will try to give you some advice and point you to specific places where you can get the information you need.
The first and most important question to ask yourself is whether or not you are healthy regardless of your weight. For example, if you smoke several packs of cigarettes a day, your first priority should be to stop smoking, as this is most likely the most important risk factor you are dealing with.
What is a normal BMI for men?
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is generally considered normal/healthy for men. Anything above 25 may indicate overweight, while a BMI below 18.5 may indicate underweight. It is important to remember that other factors such as body composition and activity level can affect the accuracy of BMI as an indicator of healthy weight.
Is a BMI of 27 good for a man?
It depends. A BMI of 27 for a man is generally considered overweight, but this can vary depending on other factors such as body composition and activity level.
If body fat is within a healthy range, a BMI of 27 is not a cause for concern. For people who sit a lot, a BMI of 27 is considered overweight. Please remember that it is always best to seek advice from a physician.