Body Fat Percentage

Why do I need to know my body fat percentage? Weight alone does not predict the level of body fat we have in our bodies. Knowing your body fat percentage and whether you are in your recommended range for age and gender can help you to be as healthy as possible. The National Institutes of Health has stated that a high percentage of body fat can put one at risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.

A healthy body fat percent can lower your risk of developing the above conditions and has other benefits like increasing energy levels and improving flexibility and function.

Look at the chart below and find your gender and age range. Then, look at the recommended percentage range for your age and gender. Where are you?

Recommended Percent Body Fat (based on American College of Sports Medicine guidelines):

Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Female 16-24% 17-25% 19-28% 22-31% 22-33%
Male 7-17% 12-21% 14-23% 16-24% 17-25%

Best Practices:

To either maintain or lower your body fat percentage, follow the recommendations below:

  • Walk, run, bike, swim, or do other activities that get you moving 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Choose to eat whole grains and at least five fruits and vegetables daily
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Avoid fast and processed foods as much as possible
  • Weight train the major muscle groups 2 to 3 times a week

How we can help:

You can come to the Health Plus office in room 127 of the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center during hours of operation to have your body fat percentage measured by Health Plus staff.

Keywords: Body Fat, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Heart Disease