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Healthy Body fat percentage chart for Women.
Healthy Body fat percentage chart for Men.

Body fat percentage is an important indicator to track as you evaluate your program to lose weight and get back in shape.  By tracking your percent body fat you can avoid losing essential lean muscle mass as you lose weight. There are a variety of methods to calculate your body fat percentage.

No method of calculating your body fat percentage is completely accurate except for the expensive Dexa Test (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry).  Its cost makes it impractical to monitor your ongoing progress.

Even the "gold standard" method of underwater weighing has its inconsistencies depending on your hydration and your ability to expel the air in your lungs.  The easiest , most direct and most economical way to check your own body fat is with the AccuMeasure skinfold calipers. 

Combining your BMI, Waist Circumference, Waist Ratios and your Body Fat Percentage will give you a much better picture of your health than tracking only your weight.  If your body fat percentage is beyond the "Healthy Range" for your age and gender, you are more likely to have an increased risk for heart disease, joint problems, diabetes and even some forms of cancer.

Once you have determined your percentage of body fat, compare it to the body fat percentage chart below to see where you are starting, and what your goal is that you want to achieve. 

Body Fat Percentage Chart

Women                                          

       

 

   Age  Under Fat   Healthy Range   Overweight   Obese
  20-40 yrs  Under 21%   21-33%  33-39%  Over 39%
  41-60 yrs  Under 23%   23-35%  35-40%  Over 40%
  61-79 yrs  Under 24%   24-36%  36-42%  Over 42%


 Notice the increase in body fat percentage with age and female gender. 

Men

 

  Age  Under Fat   Healthy Range   Overweight   Obese
  20-40 yrs  Under 8%   8-19%  19-25%  Over 25%
  41-60 yrs  Under 11%   11-22%  22-27%  Over 27%
  61-79 yrs  Under 13%   13-25%  25-30%  Over 30%


One can also be "Under Fat,"  not having enough essential fat to support the body's health. The following body fat percentage chart by the American Council on Exercise does not consider age, but classifies body fat percentage at various fitness levels and notes levels of essential fat. 

 

 Classification  Women (% fat)  Men (% fat)
 Essential Fat  10-12%  2-4%
 Athletes  14-20%  6-13%
 Fitness  21-24%  14-17%
 Acceptable  25-31%  18-25%
 Obese  32% plus  25% plus


Learn how to measure and calculate your body fat percentage.

 

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