Still worrying about weight? You should pay more attention to this number

by Mar 24, 2021Cardiovascular0 comments

Many people do believe that body fat percentage is the standard for measuring whether they have lost weight successfully.

So, should the body fat percentage be as low as possible? In fact, it is not always true. Too low or too high are both a state of high risk.

How to calculate body fat

When it comes to measuring body fat percentage, some of the methods used are fairly expensive and not very accurate. These include:

  • dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
  • hydrostatic weighing
  • air displacement plethysmography (Bod Pod)
  • 3-D body scanners


Practical Methods

If seeking out a trainer or taking your own skinfold measurements isn’t an option, there are a few ways you can track your body fat at home.

Body circumference measurements and body fat scales that use bioelectrical impedance are both methods you can do on your own.

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Ideal body fat percentage for women

There are differences between men and women when it comes to body fat percentage ranges.

Body fat percentages for women fall under a few different categories. Some charts will divide the percentages by categories, such as athletes and acceptable ranges, while others divide the ranges by age.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has a body fat chart that’s more like the adult BMI chart because it doesn’t factor in age and breaks it up in the following categories: 

Essential fat     10-13%

Athletes             14-20%

Fitness               21-24%

Acceptable        25-31%

Obesity                 >32%

For ideal body fat percentages based on age, Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital gives the following guidelines for a healthy body fat percentage for women:

Age          Percentage

20-39          21-32%

40-59          23-33%

60-79          24-35%

Ideal body fat percentage for men

In general, men have a lower body fat to lean tissue ratio than women, which explains the differences in the ranges. Reproduction plays a role in the higher body fat percentages for women.

With that in mind, the ACE chart gives the following ranges for men:


Essential fat     2-5%

Athletes             6-13%

Fitness               14-17%

Acceptable       18-24%

Obesity                 >25%


For ideal body fat percentages based on age, Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital gives the following guidelines for a healthy body fat percentage for men:


Age          Percentage

20-39          8-19%

40-59          11-21%

60-79          13-24%


Generally speaking: For boys, the body fat rate is best controlled below 18%. For girls, a body fat rate less than 25% is also appropriate.

After exceeding the above body fat, there will be some negative effects. For example, the most typical is that it affects the figure. When boys’ exceeds 35% and girls’ exceeds 40%, it is a manifestation of obesity. This is the cause of many cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, and liver disease.

But when the body fat percentage is below a certain level, it is also very dangerous. When the body fat percentage of boys is less than 10% and girls’ less than 15%, the following situations may occur:


  1. The body endurance is severely reduced. For example, in your previous training, 60 minutes can be fully guaranteed, now maybe less than 40 minutes, and you may feel sleepy at night.
  2. Strength level decrease . It will send a signal to the brain, resulting in too low testosterone secretion during training. The decrease in testosterone secretion can not only affects the strength level, but also hinders the synthesis of muscle training.
  3.  Recovering ability declines. If you can recover the physical energy in one day before, but two days or more now. Injuries that could be healed in weeks, now it takes a month. You need pay attention to the body fat percentage.
  4. Reduced immunity. This is more terrible. Studies have shown that if the body’s body fat percentage is around 5%, it is likely to cause reduced immunity, traumatic infections, and so on. In severe cases, it will affect the function of the heart.


No number is a complete picture of your individual health. How you treat your body and mind are often better indicators of your overall health and well-being.

However, we do live in a time where doctors and other experts need to use charts, data, and other measurements to create a standard definition of health. That’s why your doctor or healthcare provider will often chart your Body Fat Percentage, or BMI, during routine physicals.

With that in mind, think of BMI and body fat percentage as just one way to assess and monitor your weight and overall body composition.


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