It is easy to assume that fat is the enemy of fit, but your journey towards greater health and fitness needs to include an understanding of how much body fat you should aim for, how it is distributed across the body and why healthy fats are vital in your diet.  

What is my healthy body fat range for men and woman?

When you first use a Tanita monitor it gives you a wealth of information about your body composition like muscle mass, fat percentage, bmi and body fat percentage. This can really help you on your journey to a healthier, fitter lifestyle. One of the measurements is body fat % and once you know this figure you will probably wonder – what is a health body fat percentage? As the charts below show the healthy range depends of your age, but for a women it is 21 – 36%, and for men 12 – 25%.

allow you to determine whether you already have a healthy body fat percentage. If your body fat percentage is higher than the healthy range indicated you may want to work towards reducing it as part of your health and fitness programme.

Why do woman have a higher fat percentage than men?

For a healthy body, women need a higher fat percentage than men, as you can see in the table above. The reason they need more fat is for the following reasons, among others:

  • They need this fat for ovulation and uterine protection.
  • Breast tissue consists mainly of fat.

By men, the fat is mainly stored in the abdomen. Abdominal fat (also known as belly fat) is bad fat and therefore the lower fat percentages for men apply.

What causes excess body fat?

The energy – or calories – our body needs comes from what we eat and drink. With calories, our body works on a supply and demand system. If the food you eat ‘supplies’ the ‘demand’ your body has from movement and activity each day, all the calories will be converted into the energy you need. But, if you supply your body with more calories than it demands, those excess calories that are not burned by activity, will be stored in fat cells. If this stored fat is not converted into energy later, it creates excess body fat. Healthy eating doesn’t just mean looking to reduce stored fat, if your reading shows your lower body fat percentage is lower than the healthy range, that can also cause problems such as osteoporosis in later years, and you should talk to a health professional about how to increase your body fat percentage healthily.

But I don’t look ‘fat’

Fat can be stored under the skin or around internal organs, so it may not always be visible when you look in the mirror. A person can look fit and even be a healthy weight for their height, but could still be carrying a high level of body fat and that could be a health risk. Regular use of a Tanita monitor will help you to track your body fat percentage over time, you can then check your body fat results against the healthy body fat ranges and make adjustments to your diet and fitness regime if you need to.

Is a low-fat diet automatically healthy?

Fat is needed in your diet for example, to make hormones, and for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. So, it is important to keep healthy fats within your diet.

Not all fat is the same

While bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats protect your brain and heart. In fact, healthy fats, such as omega3s, are vital to your physical and emotional health. Understanding how to include more healthy fat in your diet can help improve your mood, boost your well-being, and even trim your waistline. However, if you are looking to reduce fat in your diet, you need to be careful; ‘light’ products on the supermarket shelves may just be replacing the fat with sugar! Look out for our next blog post about why you should focus less on how much you weigh and more on how healthy you are. Meanwhile, for more information on how to get fitter and healthier visit and let us know how you are getting on at Facebook.

Common questions about body fat percentage

At what body fat percentage do abs show?

There is no specific answer that applies to all, but on average in men it is 17% body fat and in women around 14-24% body fat.

What is best way to reduce body fat?

Avoid sugars and trans fats, get enough sleep, train regularly and reduce your stress level.

Can you measure and keep track of your body fat percentage with the Tanita body composition scales?

The Tanita body composition monitors are perfectly able to measure and keep track of your body fat percentage and will help you to achieve your goal.