Guide To Body Fat Percent

Guidelines for Reducing Body Fat Percentage

Excess body fat rather than excess weight is now seen as the major indicator of weight-related health problems. For a general guide to desirable body fat levels, see the following body-fat-percent table.

Table 1. Body Fat Guidelines from American Council on Exercise

Classification Women (% Fat) Men (% Fat)
Essential Fat 10-12 percent 2-4 percent
Athletes 14-20 percent 6-13 percent
Fitness 21-24 percent 14-17 percent
Acceptable 25-31 percent 18-25 percent

NOTE: For an explanation of how surplus calories – from dietary fat, protein or carbohydrate – are stored as body fat, please see: Body Fat/Adipose Tissue – Why We Gain Fat

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