Attaining A Healthy Body Fat Percentage

Knowing what constitutes a healthy body weight and a healthy body fat percentage can be confusing for many of us. What can be even more difficult is being able to reach this recommended number. This article will guide you through the process of calculating your body fat percentage. It will also explain the definition of a a healthy body mass index and offer suggestions on how to reach these numbers.

Calculating Lean Body Mass

For women, you will want to begin by stepping on the scale and obtaining your current weight. Using body-measuring tape, measure the width or girth of your wrist at its widest location. Next, measure the girth of your waist at your bellybutton and the girth of your hips at their widest point. Finally, measure the width of your forearm at its widest point.

Next you will need to enter your measurements into the follow equations:

  • (Body Weight X 0.732) + 8.987= Factor 1
  • Wrist/3.140= Factor 2
  • Waist X 0.157= Factor 3
  • Hip X 0.249= Factor 4
  • Forearm X 0.434= Factor 5

Add together all these factors. This number equals your lean body mass.

Healthy Body Mass Index

For adults, a healthy body mass index falls between 18.5 to 24.9 body mass. Anything below 18.5 is considered underweight, 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight and 30.0 and above is considered obese.

Calculating Body Fat

To obtain your body fat weight, you will need to calculate the following equation:

  • (Body Weight – Lean Body Mass) X 100

This number will determine your body fat weight.

Calculating Body Fat Percentage

To determine your body fat percentage, simply calculate the following equation:

  • Body Fat Weight/Body Weight=Body Fat Percentage

Healthy Body Fat Percentages

Body fat percentages are separated into classifications based on fitness level and sex. For women, there are five classifications for body fat percentages:

  • Essential Fat (10 to 12%)
  • Athletes (14 to 20%)
  • Fitness (21 to 24%)
  • Acceptable (25 to 31%)
  • Obese (32%+)

Knowing your body fat percentages can help you create realistic weight loss goals. Women should never aim to be less than 10 to 12% body fat.

Obtaining a Healthy Body Fat Percentage

One of the main ways to obtain a healthy body fat percentage is by losing weight. According to, one of the best ways to lose weight is through exercise and calorie counting. WebMD recommends that individuals should aim to lose between 1 to 2 pounds a week. This would mean a deficit of 500 calories per day. This deficit can come from either eating less or exercising more.

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, to lose weight, an individual will need to complete approximately 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. The recommendation is to exercise a total of 6 to 7 hours a week.

Methods recommended by WebMD to lose weight include reducing caloric intake. Recommended restrictive diet plans range from 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day. To successfully track consumption, dieters should keep a food journal and write down everything they eat during the day. Additional recommendations include drinking plenty of water, avoiding eating out of boredom and focusing on a healthy, well balanced diet.


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