When people read or hear about the “body fat percentage chart,” the first thing that comes to mind is bodybuilding. This is because professional bodybuilders and athletes require a low body fat percentage to join competitions. Measuring body fat is important even if a person is not a sportsperson or a weightlifter. Knowing your body fat percentage gives you a particular goal, and it lets you change your diet and lifestyle.
Body fat percentage chart sets a baseline so you can compare and adjust your physical activities. This chart helps you manage your fitness programs and diet plans better. Stepping on the weighing scale is not enough as it does not show the number of fats your body has. For example, if you are gaining weight but there is a decrease in your body fat percentage, you gain lean body mass. If the fat percentage increased, you would need to make some changes in your diet or exercise.
In addition to daily routine management, knowing your body fat percentage also helps doctors analyze the body. High-fat percentages are commonly associated with heart ailments, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and other health condition.
What is Body Fat Percentage?
The body fat percentage is the total mass of fat divided by your total body mass—the body stores fats for energy. Consuming too many calories and not engaging in physical activities can increase fat in the body.
The body stores storage body fat and essential body fat. Essential body fats are important to maintain the functions of many organs. These fats secure the internal organs, regulate your body temperature, and give you energy during sickness. Women have a higher essential body fat percentage (10 to 13% of body mass) than men (2 to 5%) due to hormonal functions.
Storage body fats are excess fats in the body. It increases the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and other cardiovascular diseases. Storage fats comprise 20 percent water and 80 percent adipose tissue. There are many ways to calculate your body fat percentage, such as the use of bioelectrical impedance analysis or with calipers.
Body Fat Percentage Chart for Men
It is important to know that men and women have different body fat percentages. Women have higher body fat percentages than men as they require higher fat levels to have a safe pregnancy.
|Chart for Men|
|Essential Fat||2 – 5 %|
|Athletes||6 – 13%|
|Fitness||14 – 17 %|
|Acceptable||18 – 25 %|
|Obese||More than 25 %|
Men usually have 2 to 5 percent of essential fats. Athletes are commonly required to have 6 to 13 percent of body fat. People who engage in physical activities to remain fit have 14 to 17 percent of body fat. The acceptable BFP for men is from 18 to 25 percent. Those who have more than 25 percent of body fat are considered obese.
You can maintain your good health by following the required or acceptable body fat percentage. Toning your muscles and improving your metabolism is also beneficial to your overall condition. You can also provide numerous illnesses by lowering the level of fat in your body.
Keep in mind that the ideal body fat percentage also changes as you age. The body requires more fats but just enough to stay healthy. Here is the body fat percentage chart in men according to age.
|Age||Ideal Body Fat Percentage in Men|
|Up to 20||8 – 14 %|
|21 to 25||10 – 15 %|
|26 to 30||11 – 16 %|
|31 to 35||13 – 17 %|
|36 to 40||15 – 20 %|
|41 to 45||16 – 22 %|
|46 to 50||17 – 23 %|
|51 to 55||20 – 25 %|
|56 and more||21 – 26 %|
As the age increases, the ideal or acceptable body fat percentages also increase. Individuals up to 20 years old have an ideal fat percentage of 8-14 percent. Those who are 21 to 25 years old need 10-15 body fat percentages. People who are 26 to 30 years old need to have 11-16 percent. For 31 to 35 years old, the ideal body fat percentage is 13-17 percent. Those who are 36 to 40 years old are required to have 15-20 percent.
41 to 45 years old have an ideal body fat percentage of 16-22 percent. Those who are 46 to 50 need 17-23 percent. For 51 to 55, the ideal percentage is 20-25 percent. People who are 56 years old have an ideal body fat percentage of 21-26 percent.
Body Fat Percentage Chart for Women
Women have higher body fat percentages than men because of the needs of childbearing.
|Chart for Women|
|Essential Fat||10 – 13 %|
|Athletes||14 – 20 %|
|Fitness||21 – 24 %|
|Acceptable||25 – 31 %|
|Obese||32 % or more|
Women usually have 10 to 13 percent of essential fats. Athletes are commonly required to have 14 to 20 percent of body fat. People who engage in physical activities to remain fit have 21 to 24 percent of body fat. The acceptable BFP for women is from 25 to 31 percent. Those who have more than 32 percent of body fat are considered obese.
The ideal body fat percentage for women also increases as they age. Here is the body fat percentage chart for women according to ages.
|Age||Ideal Body Fat Percentage in Women|
|Up to 20||18 – 23 %|
|21 to 25||19 – 24 %|
|26 to 30||21 – 25 %|
|31 to 35||21 – 26 %|
|36 to 40||22 – 27 %|
|41 to 45||23 – 28 %|
|46 to 50||24 – 30 %|
|51 to 55||26 – 31 %|
|56 and more||27 – 32 %|
Individuals up to 20 years old have an ideal fat percentage of 18-23 percent. Those who are 21 to 25 years old need 19-24 body fat percentages. People who are 26 to 30 years old need to have 21-25 percent. For 31 to 35 years old, the ideal body fat percentage is 21-26 percent. Those who are 36 to 40 years old are required to have 22-27 percent.
41 to 45 years old have an ideal body fat percentage of 23-28 percent. Those who are 46 to 50 need 24-30 percent. For 51 to 55, the ideal percentage is 26-31 percent. People who are 56 years old have an ideal body fat percentage of 27-32 percent.
How to Measure Body Fat Percentage
The body fat percentage chart lets you know if your body is in the right condition. Knowing how to measure your body fat allows you to make adjustments in your lifestyle and diet.
1. Bioelectric Impedance Analysis
This method can estimate the body fat percentage by attaching two or more conductors to the body. The fat percentage is measured by measuring the flow of the safe electric current sent through the body. The electrical signal passes through the water in the muscle tissue. It meets resistance (impedance) when the signal hits fat. The impedance is measured in relation to height and weight metrics.
This method is easier than caliper as some devices come with built-in bioelectric impedance analysis. The only downside of these devices is they are not suitable for pregnant women, athletes, or people with pacemakers.
2. Body Fat Caliper
The easiest way to measure your body fat is by using calipers, which only costs a few dollars. All you have to do is to pinch yourself using the skin fold caliper to get measurements. The goal of using this instrument is to get consistent measurements. You can easily compare the reading from the body fat percentage chart.
There are many accurate skinfold calipers available on the market. You can also opt for digital body fat calipers that can take measurements from different body areas and save the readings in memory. To get the best results from calipers, make sure that you always measure on the same spot.
3. Underwater Weighing
This technique involves weighing your body while underwater. It is one of the most accurate ways to measure body fat. However, this method is expensive.
4. Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry
This method is also an accurate but expensive method to measure your body fat percentage. X-rays of 2 different energies are used that can estimate fat percentage, bone mineral density, and body composition.
Other techniques to measure body fat percentage include:
- Whole-body air displacement plethysmography
- Near-infrared interacting
- Body average density measurement
- Anthropometric methods
The best ways to lose body fat include changing your lifestyle, cleaning up your diet, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. Limiting your consumption of sugar and starchy carbs can also help in getting rid of excess fats. Building muscles also help burn more calories, and it can make your body stronger. Adding physical activities that you love is also beneficial to get rid of extra pounds while keeping your mood elevated.