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Percentage Body Fat & Weight - What's Normal?

Aug 31, 2009

When it comes to the percentage of body fat and weight, what’s normal depends on height and frame. In general, the average male’s body fat weight should be made up of 2-4% essential body fat and the average female’s weight should consist of 10-12% essential body fat weight. These percentages are different for athletes. Women should have 14-20% essential body fat weight and males should have 6-13% essential body fat weight. The “acceptable” range is 25-31% for females and 18-25% for males. 32% or more for females is considered obese and 25% or more is considered obese for males.

Body Fat Weight Scales

When using body fat weight scales one might not get an accurate result. Bathroom body fat weight scales cannot calculate waist, hip, and wrist size, which are commonly used to help determine body fat percentage. Another factor that a body fat weight scale cannot measure is muscle. Does muscle fat weigh more than fat? This is up for debate. Some physicians and fitness professionals say muscle and fat weigh exactly the same while others maintain that because muscle is a heavier tissue than fat --- muscle is 70% water. 

Body Mass Index

Body mass index (bmi) is not the same as measuring body fat. Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Body mass index estimates the degree by which an individual is underweight or overweight. To calculate bmi, take your height in inches and multiply this number by the same number. So if you’re 78 tall, multiply 78 by 78 (78 x 78). Write down the figure. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by the figure you just wrote down. Take the answer to your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches squared and multiply he result by 703. The answer is your bmi. The figures below represent what is considered a normal and what is considered overweight.

  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Understanding Body Fat

It is important to note that body fat is the most difficult body component to reduce when it comes to losing weight. Body fat is a major component of the structure of the human body. Body fat, along with water, muscle, bones and organs are critical to normal, healthy body functioning. Body fat percentage and weight are important to normal body functioning as well. Body fat, namely “essential fat,” is necessary for regulating body temperature, as it pads and insulates the body’s tissues and organs, and it is the human body’s main form of energy storage. Storage fat, the other type of body fat, is extra fat that accumulates underneath the skin, in your muscles, and in certain areas inside your body such as around the internal organs

To reduce unnecessary body fat weight, an individual has to expend more energy than they are consuming. Meaning, an individual would have to burn more calories than he takes in. To create a calorie deficit, one would have to simply eat less and exercise more. 

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