What is your ideal body fat level? A bit of statistics

ideal body fat levelYour body weight is composed of body fat and the lean part of your body.  The percentage of your body that is not muscles, organs, bones, etc, basically the part of your body that is not ‘lean’ makes up the body fat. Men have an average body fat of 15-18%, and women have a bit more: 22-25% by default. So where is the line that decides when a person is regular or is fat? Well, statistics show that men are in danger to become fat if they reach 25% body fat, and women 30-32%. If you’re well within these levels, you should be ok.

Every person has a different proportion of weight and that proportion strongly affects the various diseases that one is susceptible to. WHR, the waist to hip ratio, is one way to measure this proportion accurately. Men are in danger if their WHR ratio is higher than 0.9, and women have it higher than 0.8. But how can you measure this by yourself and know at all times where you are at?

It’s quite easy. All you need to do is to measure your waist circumference. Waist circumference is usually conjoined with abdominal fat and while women should try to achieve less than 35 inches, for men the optimal values lie in lower than 40 inches. Actually, the common belief that  if you have a smaller waist circumference, you are better off is in case true.

You can find various weight tables that you can download or even find at your dietitian’s office, which will tell you where the percentages for being overweight lie. Although the tables are not always accurate, they are a good indicator of knowing when you need to do something, when you need to go on a diet or start exercising. Being overweight is not that bad, but being obese is quite the disaster, so knowing that based on the weight tables, being 120% over your ideal weight means you are overweight, and being 130% over you are actually obese is something to keep in mind, even if the tables miss by 2-3%.

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