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Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
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I have been using the Omron Bodyfat Analyzer for months now, and I thought it was probably pretty accurate...at least enough that I would know how my bodyfat was changing based changes to my diet and exercise program. I generally take my measurements, bodyfat, and weight weekly.

I recently read that skinfold caliper tests are more accurate and that tests with more sites are more accurate. I found pictures and calculations for doing a 9-site skinfold test, also called the Parillo test.

I am 5'3", 125.5 lbs. I use my Omron in the morning, after I use the restroom but before eating or drinking, as is instructed. It gives me a bodyfat reading of approximately 20.5%, but the Parillo test indicates 39.6% bodyfat!!!! I could understand if the two tests were off by even as much as 1.0%, but 19% is a LOT! Which one should I believe, and why are they so different!!!!
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/6/13 4:45 PM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
Personnally i would trust the skin caliper way more than the omron.

Omron rely on an electro pulse that i sent through the body to calculate body fat so i don't see how that thing would be precise.

Are you sure though that you calculated your body fat right with the caliper? I use the pollock method.

http://www.linear-software.com/online.html
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/6/13 4:45 PM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
Personnally i would trust the skin caliper way more than the omron.

Omron rely on an electro pulse that i sent through the body to calculate body fat so i don't see how that thing would be precise.

Are you sure though that you calculated your body fat right with the caliper? I use the pollock method.

http://www.linear-software.com/online.html
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/6/13 7:38 PM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
GellaBarchen:
I have been using the Omron Bodyfat Analyzer for months now, and I thought it was probably pretty accurate...at least enough that I would know how my bodyfat was changing based changes to my diet and exercise program. I generally take my measurements, bodyfat, and weight weekly.

I recently read that skinfold caliper tests are more accurate and that tests with more sites are more accurate. I found pictures and calculations for doing a 9-site skinfold test, also called the Parillo test.

I am 5'3", 125.5 lbs. I use my Omron in the morning, after I use the restroom but before eating or drinking, as is instructed. It gives me a bodyfat reading of approximately 20.5%, but the Parillo test indicates 39.6% bodyfat!!!! I could understand if the two tests were off by even as much as 1.0%, but 19% is a LOT! Which one should I believe, and why are they so different!!!!


The skinfold calipers are generally considered to be more accurate. However, you need to give that result a sanity check: if nearly 40% body fat is correct, then you're only about 76 lbs of bone and lean body mass. Unless you have absolutely no muscle at all, this seems very unlikely.

More likely is that you need more practice doing the skinfold measurements. I think they're tricky myself, and don't really trust my own measurements. Maybe you can find someone who is more experienced in that to help you out?

The analyzers like the Omron are very variable and not usually as accurate. One that I have can fluctuate by a couple percent each day, despite measuring like you do. It's not realistic to think that I'm really losing or gaining that much body fat each day - hence, it's not very accurate.

Melissa
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/6/13 8:24 PM as a reply to avondale.
Thank you for the fast replies! I am sure I am using the correct formula with the correct pinch sites...so I probably do need practice at it. You are right Melissa, 40% does not pass the sanity test, and that is what I thought when I got that result. That is a little discouraging though...how will I know when I am doing the test right and getting accurate results? I suppose maybe the best thing to do would be to go get an underwater weighing done and compare my test to that.
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/7/13 5:00 AM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
Try the Jackson/Pollock 3 site method on this website and let me know what % you come up with. http://www.linear-software.com/online.html

I am pretty sure you are taking your measurement wrong or calculating the wrong way. The Skin Caliper test is pretty accurate and should give you a reading withing a few % if taken correctly.
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
Answer Answer (Unmark)
1/7/13 4:23 PM as a reply to DominicDuclos.
My guess is that you just need to practice your techniques for the pinch test. Or you have a broken caliper. I also advise doing your measurements a few times at first and tossing out the highest and lowest outliers. That will eliminate much of the user error.

I don't like Omrons. Never seen one that didn't vary by at least +-5%
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/8/13 9:27 AM as a reply to AdStaffAndrew.
I will try the 3-site this evening and let you know how that goes.

Thanks for the tip about multiple readings, Andrew. That is something I didn't do before. Makes sense though.

The Omron generally works well enough for me to give me a reasonable assessment, maybe not of my actual bodyfat percentage, but at least of the difference from week to week. I'll be interested to see if my Omron measurements start to go up at all once the air becomes more moist again. It is so dry around this part of the country during the winter!
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/8/13 11:29 AM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
I've never used an Omron over multiple days/weeks to see if it is consistent. I just know that they've been vastly wrong whenever I tried them based on what I knew to be true from caliper tests.
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/10/13 8:07 PM as a reply to AdStaffAndrew.
Ok, sorry it took so long for me to post my results for the Jackson-Pollock test...I got a little sidetracked by putting a huge slice into my finger trying to score chestnuts for roasting! Anyway, after multiple readings in the same spots, I am getting about 16%...and while I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if that were true, somehow I doubt it...but I will keep doing the test and comparing results.

I think I will keep taking the Jackson-Pollock test, and tracking with the Omron, and use an equation I found online in a tutorial that can be used to hydrostatically test weight using a spring scale at the bottom of a pool. I looked through the equation and it looks to be sound.
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
Answer Answer (Unmark)
1/11/13 10:15 AM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
How many spots are you checking in your caliper tests? I know BB suggests a 3 spot check but, really, I'd go with a 5 or 7 point calculation. I'm curious to hear about using a pool for hydrostatic testing.
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/11/13 12:49 PM as a reply to RaquelLieb.
GellaBarchen:
Ok, sorry it took so long for me to post my results for the Jackson-Pollock test...I got a little sidetracked by putting a huge slice into my finger trying to score chestnuts for roasting! Anyway, after multiple readings in the same spots, I am getting about 16%...and while I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if that were true, somehow I doubt it...but I will keep doing the test and comparing results.

I think I will keep taking the Jackson-Pollock test, and tracking with the Omron, and use an equation I found online in a tutorial that can be used to hydrostatically test weight using a spring scale at the bottom of a pool. I looked through the equation and it looks to be sound.


I am 5 ft 3 in, approx. 122 lbs, 38 years. My 3-point caliper tests give me a bodyfat percentage of 18 - 19%. Depending on your musculature, you may not be totally off with the 16%. Although I have to admit I'm not sure I trust my use of the calipers, despite the fact that these measurements have been pretty consistent.

Yes, doing more points with the calipers would be nice, but that's impossible on your own. I don't know about you, but my husband would have no patience with making measurements like that. emoticon

Melissa
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RE: Which Bodyfat Test Should I Believe?!
1/16/13 4:58 PM as a reply to avondale.
Ok, I did the 3 and 9 site tests again, this time taking several measurements for each site and being very careful about the procedure for obtaining measurements. The 9-site test came out 36% which still doesn't pass the sanity check, but the 3-site test came out 25.1% which is a believable number for me since I have a very small bone structure.

I know that the 9-site test is supposed to be more accurate, but I have a hypothesis for why it may not be. On my calf and thigh I cannot pinch the skin away from the muscle into a definite fold. The skin is just very attached to the muscle in those areas...

As for the hydrostatic test in a pool, I will do that as soon as the weather is warm enough around here (probably May or June) and let you know.

Thank you for all the help!
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Showing 13 results.