A body shape calculator is a tool used to determine which body type category a person fits into based on either body measurements or estimated proportions. Generally, the user inputs his or her height, weight, waist, and hip measurements, and the body shape calculator generates a result instantly. Some body shape calculators are based off of this simple hip to waist ratio, while others use additional measurements or a separate formula.
Often, a body shape calculator will use the categories of apple, pear, and banana to describe common body weight distributions, though sometimes other comparisons such as hourglass, spoon, and ruler are used. Apple refers to the type of person who tends to store fat in the upper body, usually around the abdomen. Pear shaped people primarily carry weight in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. Those with a banana shape are characteristically thin all throughout the body. Mixtures of any of these categories are also possible.
The waist to hip ratio that determines which of the categories a person falls into is obtained by dividing the circumference of the waist by that of the hips. An apple shaped man has a waist to hip ratio of one or greater, while a pear shaped man would have a ratio of less than one. Women are generally expected to have larger hips and a smaller waist, so a ratio of .8 or greater indicates an apple shape, while .8 or smaller indicates a pear shape.
It is important for an individual to know how his or her body stores fat, because body fat distribution is often indicative of future illnesses. For instance, apple shapes have a greater chance of developing diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, while pear shapes have a reduced risk and are generally expected to be healthier. Some banana shapes may also encounter health problems from being naturally underweight.
Sometimes, a body shape calculator will focus less on the body shape, such as apple or pear shaped, and focus more on the body type. The three main body types are endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. Endomorphs are characterized by softer, fuller bodies that tend to retain fat easily and may not build muscle quickly. Ectomorphs are chronically slender, having trouble putting on and maintaining both body fat and muscle. Mesomorphs are known for the ability to easily build and maintain muscle mass without putting on extra body fat.