What It Is and Ways to Determine It

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ACE Body Fat Percentage Norms for Men and Women
Description Women Man
Essential Fats 10% to 13% 2% to 5%
Athletes 14% to 20% 6% to 13%
Wellness 21% to 24% 14% to 17%
Acceptable 25% to 31% 18% to 24%
Fat Over 32% Over 25%

Athletes tend to have a lower percentage of body fat than healthy people because having less fat improves their athletic performance. However, when the body fat percentage drops too low, athletic performance decreases and immune function declines.

On the other hand, an excessively high body fat percentage is a risk factor for chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Body Composition vs Body Mass Index

Body composition and body mass index (BMI) are tools for assessing body fatness. However, the methods used to measure body composition and BMI vary. In addition, BMI may not provide accurate results in all situations.

Health professionals use BMI to assess an individual’s risk of disease based on their body fatness or their position on the BMI chart. But recent evidence suggests that BMI is a very poor measure of body fatness and disease risk, and may not be the best – or only – indicator for measuring body composition. and health.

Body mass index (BMI) is a biased, dated measure that doesn’t take into account several factors, such as body composition, ethnicity, race, gender, and age. Although a flawed measure, BMI is widely used today in the medical community as it is an inexpensive and rapid method for analyzing potential health conditions and outcomes.

Body mass index

BMI is a tool that has been used by medical professionals to assess body fat levels and health. It’s a mathematical equation that compares your weight to your height.

  • BMI = (weight in pounds) / (squared height) X 703

Example: (150 pounds) / (66 inches x 66 inches) X 703 = 24

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This BMI chart is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Under 18.5 = underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 = healthy weight
  • 25.0 to 29.9 = overweight
  • 30 or more = obese

You don’t need any special equipment to measure BMI, making it a quick tool for assessing body fat and health.

However, BMI is not perfect and may not accurately measure body fat in everyone. For example, a bodybuilder may have a BMI that classifies them as overweight, but has a low body fat percentage.

How to measure body composition

There are several ways to measure body composition. However, you need more than a scale and a bathroom calculator to figure out what percentage of your weight comes from fat and what percentage comes from muscle.

Bioelectrical impedance

Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) is a tool that estimates your body composition by measuring your body’s resistance to low-level current or impedance. Muscle is less resistant to electrical currents than fat.


  • Painless, quick and easy

  • You can buy scales with BIA technology for home use

Skinfold measurement

Fold measurement involves using a special caliper to measure skin folds – subcutaneous fat – on different parts of your body. Fitness trainers use skin fold measurements to assess body fat because it’s quick and convenient.


A DEXA scan, also known as a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry procedure, uses low-level X-rays to measure bone, muscle, and body fat.

Hydrostatic balance

Hydrostatic weighing involves complete immersion in a water bath, using the displacement of water to measure body composition. Since fat floats and muscle sinks, a person with a leaner body mass will weigh more under water.

Bod Pod

Bod pods are similar to hydrostatic scales, but use air displacement instead of water displacement to measure body composition. For this test, you sit in an egg-shaped chamber, using your weight and body volume to determine your body composition.

Factors to consider

Body composition provides valuable information about body fat percentage. However, your body shape is unique to you and there are uncontrollable factors that affect your body composition including:

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  • Age: You lose muscle as you age, which affects your body composition. However, age-related muscle loss is often due to decreased physical activity.
  • Gene: Your genes determine your body type and composition, and your inherited body type may have more body fat that is more difficult to lose.
  • Hormonal: Hormones also affect body composition. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that helps increase muscle mass.
  • Sex: Due to a combination of genetics and hormones, women have more body fat than men.

Change your body composition

To change your body composition, you need a balance between physical activity and nutrition to achieve your goals. Slow and steady changes work best when you want to gain muscle and lose fat. It’s important to remember that some factors will be out of your control.

Before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine, consult your primary care provider or registered dietitian for guidance. guide.

A very good word

Your body composition can help you better understand your current health and fitness level. It can also serve as a measurement tool to track progress when starting a new fitness or wellness program.

When trying to get in shape to improve your fitness level, it’s important to follow a safe and effective workout routine and a balanced eating plan. Seek advice from a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine.

frequently asked Questions

  • What are the 3 somatotypes?

    The three somatotypes include ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. These body types are determined by your genetics.

    A person with an ectomorph body type has very little body fat and muscle and struggles to gain weight. In contrast, people with the endomorph body type have a high percentage of body fat and muscle and have no problem gaining weight. Mesomorphs are athletic and can gain and lose weight easily.

  • The body structure model consists of which 4 components?

    The 4-component body composition model measures the body’s fat, water, mineral and protein content to assess body composition. For comparison, the traditional 2-component model uses only fat mass and fat-free mass to assess body composition.

    Because the 4-component model measures multiple components to assess fat mass and fat-free mass, it provides more accurate measurements for those who do not conform to traditional body composition references. system.

    This model is commonly used to measure body composition in children.

  • What is the healthy body fat percentage for men and women?

    According to data from the American Council on Exercise, body fat percentage in men typically ranges from 18% to 24% and in women it is 25% to 31%. The measured body fat percentage is above that range that classifies a person as obese.

    If you are an athlete or someone who regularly hits the gym, you can have a lower body fat percentage than is acceptable for your gender and still be healthy. However, a body fat percentage less than 5% for men and 10% for women is not good for health.

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