What body fat percentage is safe?
Body fat percentage is simply the total weight of fat divided by the total weight of a person. It is essential for people to have fat in their bodies because it acts as a carrier for vitamins, contains fatty acids and is important for growth, reproduction and immunity. Women need at least 10-13% body fat and men need at least 3-6% body fat.
What should the body fat percentage be?
Typically if men have a body fat percentage of over 25% they are obese. Normal is considered to be between 18-24% and minimum should be 3-6%.
For women anything over 32% is considered obese, normal is between 25-31% and minimum should be between 10-13%.
It is important to understand body fat percentage. When people are trying to lose weight all they usually focus on is what it says on the scales, but this is not the best metric to focus on. So how do you measure body fat?
Measuring body fat percentage at home
One way is by using the BMI scale. You simply use your height and weight and a BMI calculator will show you your BMI (Body Mass Index). However the BMI scale is not very accurate - it will use your height and weight to simply give you an idea of whether you are underweight, overweight or normal.
You can buy body fat scales for your house. They are quite cheap and send a harmless current throughout your body to check the fat percentage. They can be good but there is a lot you must keep in mind to get an accurate reading, so you should follow the instructions carefully. This is probably the best way to check your body fat levels from home.
Medical ways for measuring body fat
Outside of the home, there are more accurate methods, such as underwater weighing, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and near infra red interactance. Your GP can offer advice on these methods.
Keeping an eye on your body fat percentage is important if you are trying to lose weight as it can help to guide your weight loss plan and make sure your efforts are safe and effective.