Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Estimating Body Fat Percentage
There are a number of ways to estimate what percentage of
your weight is fat. But measuring body fat is not done routinely, because all
of these methods have advantages and disadvantages as well as margins of error.
Some common methods include:
Experts differ in their opinions about what is a
healthy percentage of body fat. In general, 10% to 25% body fat is considered
healthy in an adult man, and 18% to 32% body fat is considered healthy in an
adult woman. Above or below this level is usually considered unhealthy and could put you at risk for health problems.
of body fat will vary between different population groups. Your age, sex, and
activity level will also affect your percentage of body fat. For example,
endurance runners have less body fat than swimmers. People living near the
North or South Pole generally have more body fat than people living in more
moderate temperature zones.
Remember that percentage of body fat,
by itself, doesn't tell whether a person is healthy or unhealthy. The location of the fat is also important. Body fat around your stomach can put you at risk for more health problems than if your fat is around your hips, buttocks, and thighs instead.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.