Posted by: Haz | 2006/11/14

Body Fat

Hello doc. I am 35 years old, and 1.55m tall. I do moderate exercise at home. What should my ideal body fat percentage be? I have quite small bones.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Haz

The 'ideal' body fat is a range, because it is really hard to pinpoint an exact figure. For example, if you took a sample of women of all shapes and sizes, you would get anything between about 12% all the way to 50%. Obviously, too high is bad (so is too low, incidentally), and so the ideal range is somewhere in the middle. We generally suggest that anything below 30% is considered acceptable, and between 18 and about 24% is considered good. The bigger issue here is measurement - I don't believe that there is a very good way to measure this value accurately AND cheaply. The cheap methods tend to be quite inaccurate and not repeatable. You could measure yourself on 4 days and get 4 very different values, unless an exceptionall qualified tester was doing the measurement. So my opinion is to leave body fat alone as a measurement, and rather focus on getting fitter and stronger and feeling better. If that happens, you will lose fat at the same time, without the hassle of measurement.

Good luck

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