Healthy Body Fat – Is There Such A Thing?

Is there such a thing as a healthy body fat number or percentage? Should this number or percentage be based on certain factors or conditions?

Generally, a healthy body fat is indicated if your body fat index number falls within a certain percentage. This is called a healthy body fat percentage. This percentage is based on two factors: age and gender.

Body Fat Measurements

These measurements are ideal for women:

  •  Ages 20 – 40  21 – 33%
  •  Ages 41 – 60   23 – 35%
  •  Ages 61 – 79  24 – 36%

The following measurements are ideal for men:

  • Ages 20 – 40 8 – 19%
  • Ages 41 – 60  11 – 22%
  • Ages 61 – 79  13 – 25%

How to Measure Body Fat

Body fat can be measured in a number of different ways. The easiest way is by purchasing a scale that will also tell you your fat ratio, along with your weight. You may also choose to get your measurements from a professional to help ensure that you make no errors.  Finally, you could consult a BMI chart. This chart will compare your height and weight to measure your body mass index. Many of these charts can be found easily online.

Determining Healthy Body Fat

By now, you know you can not measure whether you are at a healthy body fat percentage by looking at the models in those magazines (yes, many are airbrushed) or even those actresses on television. The question is, how should you measure it? Should you measure it by the number you hear after you talk to a professional, by the number you get off the scale or from a BMI chart?

Those all are numbers you should consider.  However, you may want to consider these factors as well:

  •   Does your fat or body mass get in the way of daily activity?
  •   Are you growing out of a lot of your clothes?
  •   Are you a lot bigger than you were a year from now?
  •   Are you a lot bigger than most of the women in your family?

These answers may help you decide whether you are are at a healthy body fat percentage.

Take Action

Once you know what your ideal healthy body fat number or percentage, you can take action, if needed. You can do this by learning how to eat a low fat diet. A low fat diet can be considered a healthy fat loss diet if you include such foods as  fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low fat foods that are filled with fiber. These foods can help you gain energy, keep you filling full longer, and help make sure your body has the adequate vitamins and minerals it needs to perform properly.

If you also cut back on high fats and high carbohydrates, you can consider your diet a low fat heart healthy diet (since you are helping to build a stronger heart). Your heart can become stronger because it is not being subjected to all those high fat foods that can cause such health conditions as high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

If you aren’t at a healthy body fat weight, begin increasing your physical activity regularly. Yes, this means that you need to exercise regularly, at least 4 times a week.


About Author

Posts By Sequoia
  • Rebecca M

    You’re confusing BMI and body fat percentage in this article. They are two very different things. Body fat can’t be determined from a BMI chart. Nor can it be determined by how your clothes fit or how “big” you are compared to others in your family.

    And your chart of healthy ranges is way too high. Check with ACSM or ACE — anything over 32% at any age is considered obese.

    A low fat diet won’t affect body fat percentage unless it creates a calorie deficit. We learned about the perils of low fat diets back in the 90s, in the era of SnackWell cookies and high sugar replacements for fats. We need some healthy fats in our diets.

    Finally, hearts are not strengthened by eating a low fat diet. Hearts are strengthened with cardiovascular exercise.

    Who wrote this article??