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Body Fat? How much should I have?

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What should my body fat percentage be?

The absolute perfect body fat percentage does NOT exist.  Age and gender make a big contribution to the ideal value, but most importantly…

Everyone is an individual.  Some people might feel and perform better at a higher or lower body fat percentage than others of the same age and sex.  And that’s why…

Ranges and guidelines exist.  The table below gives the ideal body fat percentage ranges for the general population.

Body Fat Percentage for The Average Population
Age Up to 30 30-50 50+
Females 14-21% 15-23% 16-25%
Males 9-15% 11-17% 12-19%
If you have ever been asked, “What does your percent body fat mean” but you were at a loss for an answer, here are some facts you should know:
1. Your body fat is a better indicator of your health than are other methods such as BMI

If you are weight conscious, you have probably considered a number of different ways to measure your health from a weight perspective.  One popular method is the Body Mass Index, or BMI.  While the BMI is a great guide for a large portion of the population, as a unit of measure it unfortunately has some important flaws. For example, if you are a particularly muscular person with very little body fat, your BMI could indicate that you are overweight or obese when in fact you are perfectly healthy.  Similarly, people who have a very low BMI might believe they are healthy when in fact they carry too much fat on their body.

A better way to measure your health is to measure your percent body fat.  As the term indicates, this is simply a measure of the percentage of your weight that is made up of fat.  This is a much more accurate and telling way to determine your health in terms of your body composition.

2. A high body fat percentage can put you at risk for many serious diseases

Being too high in body fat can have a number of serious ramifications for your health. A high body fat percentage can contribute to your having a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, stroke, and Type II diabetes. Of course, it also usually means that you are not as attractive as you might want to me in terms of having a tone, fit, and healthy-looking body.

3. There are several ways to measure body fat (Click Here to find out more about measuring body fat)

The cheapest and easiest way to measure body fat is through the use of calipers – a simple metal tool that lightly pinches your skin to determine how much fat is on your body. Other, more accurate (and more costly) ways include underwater weighing, a Bod Pod, and bioelectrical impedance.

Now that you know more about the negative effects of high body fat and what constitutes a healthy body fat range, you are better equipped to find out your current body fat percentage and to get help in getting to a healthy level.

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