Measuring Body Fat
Is Important For Determining Fitness

Weight alone is not a clear indicator of good health because it does not distinguish between pounds that come from body fat and those that come from lean body mass or muscle. Carrying too much fat is called obesity, and puts a person at risk for many serious medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and even certain forms of cancer. In fact obesity contributes to at least half the chronic diseases in western society.  Many people desire a "rating system" for assessing their current level of body fat. The following table provides a meaningful rating system.

MALE

Age EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR POOR
19-24 10.8% 14.9% 19.0% 23.3%
25-29 12.8% 16.5% 20.3% 24.4%
30-34 14.5% 18.0% 21.5% 25.2%
35-39 16.1% 19.4% 22.6% 26.1%
40-44 17.5% 20.5% 23.6% 26.9%
45-49 18.6% 21.5% 24.5% 27.6%
50-54 19.8% 22.7% 25.6% 28.7%
55-59 20.2% 23.2% 26.2% 29.3%
60+ 20.3% 23.5% 26.7% 29.8%



FEMALE

Age EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR POOR
19-24 18.9% 22.1% 25.0% 29.6%
25-29 18.9% 22.0% 25.4% 29.8%
30-34 19.7% 22.7% 26.4% 30.5%
35-39 21.0% 24.0% 27.7% 31.5%
40-44 22.6% 25.6% 29.3% 32.8%
45-49 24.3% 27.3% 30.9% 34.1%
50-54 26.6% 29.7% 33.1% 36.2%
55-59 27.4% 30.7% 34.0% 37.3%
60+ 27.6% 31.0% 34.4% 38.0%

NOT ALL POUNDS ARE THE SAME

Overweight means an excess of total body weight based on population averages for heights and body frame size. Athletes and very muscular people may be overweight, but that does not mean they are over fat. Obesity means an excess of body fat regardless of weight. Excess body fat can increase the risk of the following

CORONARY HEART DISEASE

  • STROKE
  • ARTERIOSCLEROSIS
  • DIABETES
  • SEVERAL FORMS OF CANCER

Medical professionals have determined that a healthy range of body fat is 14%-20% for men, and 17%-24% for women. But until recently, accurate methods for measuring and monitoring body fat have not been available to the average person. Note: For your own body fat range consult your physician.

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Appearances Can Be Deceiving 
 Men A, B and C are exactly the same height. A and B have the same weight, and C weighs considerably more. For his height C appears to be fat. But after analyzing body fat levels, B and C have acceptable percentages while A has above the recommended range and is at a higher health risk.