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Every person should possess at least a minimal amount of fat (percent body fat) for a good health. This fat is called essential fat and is necessary for temperature regulation, shock absorption and regulation of essential body nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K. The exact amount of body fat considered essential to normal body functioning has been debated. But most experts agree that males should possess no less than 5% and females no less than 10%. Recall that a high percentage of body fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other diseases. It is therefore not surprising that several methods of assessing body composition have been developed. A technique considered being the gold standard for laboratory assessment of body fat in humans is hydrostatic weighing and involves weighing the individual both on land and in a tank of water. The two body weights are then entered into a simple formula to calculate the percent of body fat. Unfortunately, underwater weighing is very time consuming and requires expensive equipment. Thus, this procedure is rarely employed to assess body composition in collegiate physical fitness courses. A rapid and inexpensive method to assess body composition is measurement of subcutaneous fat or fat beneath the skin (called the skin fold test)

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