Charts of Body Fat Percentage by Gender and Age

By | October 8, 2017
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Your body fat percentage tells a lot about your overall health and fitness level. Your fitness level is low and you are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes if your fat percentage is on the higher side. However, you will experience similar issues if that percentage is lower than normal. Checking a body fat percentage chart will help understand how much body fat is normal for people from different age groups. It is equally important to understand how to calculate the amount of fat you have.

What Is Body Fat?

Your body stores fat to use it as a source of energy when required. The percentage of fat goes up when you ingest a large amount of calories and do not engage in enough physical activities to make your body use up stored fat for energy. Your body stores excess calories as essential fat and nonessential fat.

  • Your body uses essential body fat to function properly – this type of fat helps regulate body temperature, provides cushion for the internal organs, and provides you with energy during illness. This type of body fat has a percentage measure of 10-13% of body mass for women and 2-5% of body mass for men. If it is below this level, you will have to deal with certain complications.
  • On the other hand, nonessential body fat is excess fat that your body does not require to function properly. It increases your risk for hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. Fat mass is different for different individuals; however, fat mass consists of 80% adipose tissue and 20% water.

Body Fat Percentage Chart by Gender

A chart of body fat percentage tells you everything about normal fat percentage. Keep in mind that there is a difference in what is considered normal for men and women.

Chart for Men

The following table tells you about your fitness level in relation to the percentage of fat you have.

Classification Men (in percentage)
Obese Greater than 25%
Acceptable 18-25
Fitness 14-17
Athletes 6-13
Essential fat 2-5

Your overall health will be better when you keep your body fat percentage within the normal range. You will have more toned muscles with improved appearance. Your metabolism will work efficiently and it will be easier for you to maintain a healthy body weight.

It is important to understand that body fat percentage changes with age. You will require more body fat to remain healthy in old age. Here is a body fat percentage chart to show how body fat percentage changes with age.

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Chart for Female

Body fat is important for women because it helps when they become pregnant. The following table tells about your fitness level considering the amount of fat you have.

Classification Women ( Fat in Percentage)
Obese 32% or more
Acceptable 25-31
Fitness 21-24
Athletes 14-20
Essential fat 10-13

In women, body fat percentage goes up as they grow old, but it has to stay within a healthy fat range. The body fat percentage chart for women shows that women usually has a higher fat percentage, which is mainly because it is essential for estrogen production. Most women do not realize that even though it feels that they are overweight, they are not.

Here is more about change in body fat percentage with age:

How to Evaluate Body Fat

A body fat percentage chart gives you clear indication of what is healthy and what is not. However, it is equally important to learn what you can do to measure or evaluate your body fat.

1.        Skin Fold Caliper

The method involves measuring your body fat by pinching your fat with your fingers and then using a body fat caliper to get a reading. You can then compare the reading to a chart to know how much body fat you have. The method is quite accurate and dependable, but you need to use the same exact spot to take another measurement. You may require a fitness professional to perform the test correctly. If you are 35+ pounds overweight, this method is not for you.

2.        Bioelectric Impedance Analysis

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The procedure helps measure your body fat by measuring the flow of an electric current through your muscles. Your muscle holds water and is quite conductive but fat has lower water content and not that conductive. The strength of the impedance is then checked in relation to weight and height metrics to get your body fat percentage. The test is easy to administer and is quite inexpensive too. The downside is that it has questionable accuracy because the results may change with a change in hydration level.

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