Estimating Body Fat Percentage
There are a number of ways to estimate what percentage of your weight is fat. But measuring body fat is not done routinely, because all of these methods have advantages and disadvantages as well as margins of error.
Some common methods include:
Experts differ in their opinions about what is a healthy percentage of body fat. In general, 10% to 25% body fat is considered healthy in an adult man, and 18% to 32% body fat is considered healthy in an adult woman. Above or below this level is usually considered unhealthy and could put you at risk for health problems.
Percentage of body fat will vary between different population groups. Your age, sex, and activity level will also affect your percentage of body fat. For example, endurance runners have less body fat than swimmers. People living near the North or South Pole generally have more body fat than people living in more moderate temperature zones.
Remember that percentage of body fat, by itself, doesn't tell whether a person is healthy or unhealthy. The location of the fat is also important. Body fat around your stomach can put you at risk for more health problems than if your fat is around your hips, buttocks, and thighs instead.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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