Ideal Body Fat Percentage

Average and ideal body fat percentage values are different for men and women. The female hormone estrogen causes women to carry about 5% more body fat than men.

The average woman has about 23% body fat and the average man about 17%. The average male college student (age 20) has about 15% body fat. The average middle-aged male has about 25% body fat.

An ideal percentage of body fat for a non-athlete is around 14% for men and about 20% for women.

Men will be considered clinically obese over about 30% fat and women clinically obese over about 35% body fat.

There are scales that read percent fat and there are calipers with charts for calculating your fat but be careful because these methods are not always accurate, but they will give you an idea of weather your weight is muscle or fat.

Perhaps you would like to see this ideal body fat percentage in chart form. This ideal body fat percentage chart may have slightly different guidelines as seen written on this page because the health community is just now beginning to use percent fat instead of weight to judge ones fitness.

Be careful in your quest for the ideal body fat percentage. Some fat is necessary make sure you do not eliminate the healthy body fat.

Healthy Body Fat Percentage Result
Based on NIH/WHO guidelines for BMI
Based on Gallagher et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 72, Sept. 2000
Gender  Age Low Normal High Very High
Female 20-39 < 21.0 21.0 - 32.9 33.0 - 38.9 >39
40-59 < 23.0  23.0 - 33.9 34.0 - 39.9 >40
60-79 < 24.0 24.0 - 35.9 36.0 - 41.9 >42
Male 20-39 < 8.0 8.0 - 19.9 20.0 - 24.9 >25
40-59 < 11.0 11.0 - 21.9 22.0 - 27.9 >28
60-79 < 13.0 13.0 - 24.9 25.0 - 29.9 >30

Also check out:

ideal weight charts for women
ideal weight charts for men

Do not have a way to measure your body fat yet. Try this Percent Body Fat Calculator

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