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Question
Posted by: Liesbet | 2004/11/01

Healthy Body Fat Percentage

Hi - I would like to find out what is a healthy body fat percentage to have? Some people appear lean and healthy, but their body fat percentage may still be high - how can this be explained?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Liesbet

Body fat percentage can be a tricky thing to measure and there's often a good deal of confusion and heated debate about what is best. So the first thing you have to be aware of is how you measure it. I personally don't believe that the skinfold method, done with calipers is a very good and accurate method. I think it depends on the measurer and this is very unreliable. That's why infra red, impedance and Xray methods are preferable.

As for what the good values are, here is a table that is often used:

Male
Excellent Good Acceptable Fair Poor
16-29 < 12 12 - 15 16 - 20 21 - 26 > 26
30-39 < 14 14 - 17 18 - 22 23 - 28 > 28
40-49 < 15 15 - 18 19 - 23 24 - 29 > 29
50-59 < 16 16 - 19 20 - 24 25 - 30 > 30
60 + < 18 18 - 20 21 - 25 26 - 30 > 30


Female
Excellent Good Acceptable Fair Poor
16 -29 < 18 18 - 19 20 - 24 25 - 32 > 32
30 -39 < 19 19 - 22 23 - 27 28 - 33 > 33
40 -49 < 21 21 - 23 24 - 28 29 - 34 > 34
50 -59 < 23 23 - 25 26 - 30 31 - 36 > 36
60 + < 24 24 - 26 27 - 31 32 - 38 > 38

I hope this helps

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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