Weighing scales and visceral fat

I’ve recently bought a weighing scale to get a handle on my visceral fat. My body fat is about 10 per cent. The trouble :imp: is that these scales give you a score, mine is 6.

The scoring system is shown below.

0 - 1 low
1 - 9 healthy
9 - 14 high
14 - 30 obese

Does anyone know how this translates into per cent fat ?

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I have an old Withings scale that gives me a body fat percentage.

That said all these scales and body fat measurement devices that I know about make their calculations that in my estimation make inappropriate assumptions.

As example the inputs include height, age, and gender.

The internal body fat calculations then use these inputs to refer to tables originally (as I understand it) developed from the body fat measurements of cadavers.

These devices don’t measure body fat directly or accurately. As example, you’ll get a different body fat percentage if you change your age (think actual age vs functional age).

These devices can prove useful to track trends.

If one could have their body fat measured and calculated via the caliper method or the even more accurate immersion in water, one could then set your age on one of these scales/devices to match.

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I enjoyed this article written by my friend.

I use one mainly to track bone and muscle mass trends fully understanding it’s limitations. I find the navy method for estimating total body fat seems more reasonable than my smart scale.


From the article:
"However, no method of body fat measurement is perfectly accurate (other than perhaps an autopsy… and you’re probably not that committed to knowing your body fat accurately)! " :laughing:


Or… take a DEXA scan… pretty accurate… down to the fat in your “naughty bits”!


Dexa is the only accurate way but even that depends on the operator. Another way to go is using photo-based charts of body fat percentage. Just compare how you look to the bodies in the photos, find the one that is closest. This should get you to within 5 percentage points. That’s as accurate as the Withings scales (I have a Withings scale).

The more the body shape is apple vs pear, the more visceral fat. All of my excess body fat is on my abdomen; my goal is a “six-pack” (goal is something to aim for) to ensure minimum visceral fat.


Agreed… interesting that woman naturally have more body fat… therefore a man can go thinner in composition.


The pictures are definitely helpful. My biometric scale puts me at 14.6% but the navy method at closer to 17%. Comparing myself to the photos I’d estimate 15-17%. I think it’s possible for average people who don’t have access to a having a dexa scan to get a rough idea with more everyday things like a tape measure and affordable smart scale. Of course with visible abs I doubt there’s any reason for concern about visceral fat but I will admit I could be wrong.


I’ll keep that (autopsy) as plan C :joy:


Thank you for that, I didn’t know about the US navy body fat calculator.
I’ve entered my details and they roughly agree with my scales.

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That’s interesting about internal reference tables in the scales. I’ve just done a more in-depth internet search based on that assumption and found this

I know bio impedance scales are inaccurate, I was just curious as to how they work, algorithm-wise.

From the above data, I generated the graph shown below (with caveats too numerous to mention) for a male aged 60-79.

Sorry :disappointed: for the image quality, and all the extrapolations


My fitness “smart scale” says 12%, the Navy calculator says 16%. Since the Navy calculator is more in line with the pictures Agetron provided and what I look like, I have to conclude that the Navy calculator is more accurate than my scale.


My Withings scale tells me I’ve got 10.1 per cent body fat.

The US navy body fat calculator says 11 per cent, so pretty close agreement, as shown above.

Incidentally the cheap scales I bought for visceral fat measurement are also in close agreement as shown below

Although the body age of 26 does make me wonder about its overall accuracy, as I’m 62 :smiley:

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If you can find a DexaFit or DexaBody facility reasonably close by, you can get a DXA scan at moderate cost (~$100) and without a prescription, that will accurately report visceral fat, body fat percentage by region in your body, and bone density which is important for all of us. The PEARL clinical trial is using DexaFit facilities for their study. Getting scans over time with the same machine and operator helps deal with variability in the scanning process.


Thank you, this is very good to know! I had no idea it was so affordable.

I love that picture chart. My gut feeling is the male 15% and 20% photos are REALLY close to each other and it’s hard for me to really see the difference.

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You might look in to Inbody machines. They use different technology than Dexa, so would be safer to use more frequently for body fat measurements.

They have at home scales that may be similar to the one you have. I’m guessing one of the bigger machines you’d have to go to a gym or some other office would be more accurate than the at home scale, but it’s hard to say.



Yeah… a little more define at 15% some abs showing. You get into 15% to 20% body fat range… you are killing it.

The lower percentages… under 15% look dehydrated. Skin looks less healthy.

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Can anyone tell me if a body fat of ~10% is low/unhealthy ?

My body weight scales keep telling me, it is, but I’m not so sure.

All my other body metrics seems to be okay, apart from body fat (based on two different impedance scales and US navy body fat calculator). Unfortunately I don’t have access to a DEXA scan as I live in the UK.


Just get a tape measure and measure your waist. Waist/height is still one of the best predictors for general health. (0.4-0.49 is the normal healthy range for males). And these scales are just crap, try standing on them with some weight and see you suddenly have more muscle or take a dumb ans see how they tell you you have just lost muscle

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