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How much body fat is healthy?

Eric Olsen
Fitness
Acceptable levels of body fat range from about 15 to 20 percent of total body weight for men and 20 to 25 percent for women. More than this is thought to be unhealthy, although given the recent findings about the importance of leanness, these percentages may be somewhat overgenerous. But stepping on a scale and then studying body mass index (BMI) or height/weight charts won't tell you much about your health risks; your weight in relation to your height is only a very crude indicator of your body fat and thus only a crude indicator of risk.
Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

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Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

An average, healthy body fat range for males is:

  • 15 to 20%

An average, healthy body fat range for females is:

  • 20 to 25%

These ranges may vary as we age but staying within reasonable limits will be beneficial to your health. Some may be able to achieve these ranges but your body mass index may be on the high side, closer to 24.9. Keep in mind that a healthy body fat is going to be very important and your BMI may be a little high, especially if you have more muscle mass.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.