What number best describes a healthy body fat percentage? Is there an exact method of determining this number and is it really all that important anyway? And what about body mass index? Does that determine the same thing as the best body fat percentage? We'll try to answer all these questions in this page. We'll also give you a short video that will help clear up some questions.
To begin, we'll answer the big question. Yes, maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is very important. Obviously carrying far too much body fat isn't a good thing, but there is also danger in too little body fat. People falling into this second category actually use up muscle protein as fuel. But for most people reading this page, the concern is probably too much body fat.
Many doctors and even some insurance companies use a body mass index calculation to make health assumptions. This method takes into account height and weight. This formula has been criticized for several reasons. The most obvious is that it isn't all that reliable as a means of determining obesity.
A large man with big bones might weigh more, but could actually have a much better healthy body fat percentage than someone carrying much less weight. The BMI test also doesn't factor in where any excess fat is located.
As we learned in our page about belly fat weight loss, this overlapping visceral fat is extremely dangerous. Heart disease, insulin or leptin resistance, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease are just a few conditions brought on by excess belly fat.
There are some high-tech tools out there to help you determine body fat. But in this page, I'll give you two very easy to use tools. One is a tape measure. A cheap tape measure will work just fine. Simply measure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen, below your rib cage and above your belly button. The very short video just below will help you with this task.
The second tool is your own mind. You know deep down if you are carrying too much belly fat. You know if you are getting winded going up a flight of stairs.
And you know what is causing this problem. Doughnuts, soda, bagels, bread, empty carbs and excess sugar are the culprits. Follow the steps in the video and if the number is above 37 inches for men and 34 inches for women, it's time for action.
The chart just below gives a pretty good idea where we should be in terms of health body fat percentage. If you are an elite athlete, your number will be lower than "normal." And remember that there is a huge difference between elite athlete status and being fit.
Unless you are working toward an Olympic adventure or are seeking a career as a professional athlete, striving to reach that "fitness" line on the chart is the correct measure of healthy body fat percentage.
The problem with settling for the average line is that the drop to obese is a short one and any person in that average category is probably doing enough of the wrong things in terms of processed food consumption, that the inevitable visit from "Father Time" and the change in metabolism that follows his visit could drop you down to that bottom level very quickly. Early planning and goal achievement are always better than late reactions.
Diabetes numbers are exploding and leading to other deadly cardiovascular system diseases as we continue to devour processed foods loaded with junk and fail to understand how much excess grain consumption is affecting our health.
Now that you know what number constitutes a healthy body fat percentage, and you've acquired that tape measure, you can add in the power of your own mind, some effective belly fat exercise, and a healthier diet to reach that important range. I've included this link that will provide a calculator to enter your tape measure readings and find out where you stand on that chart.
A healthy body fat percentage is not the same for every person. But there is a target number that will help you avoid diabetes, stroke and heart disease.