The body fat percentage is the total mass of fat divided by total body mass; body fat includes essential body fat and storage body fat. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. Storage body fat consists of fat accumulation in adipose tissue, part of which protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen.
The body fat percentage is a measure of fitness level, since it is the only body measurement which directly calculates a person's relative body composition without regard to height or weight. The widely used body mass index (BMI) provides a measure that allows the comparison of the adiposity of individuals of different heights and weights. While BMI largely increases as adiposity increases, due to differences in body composition, it is not an accurate indicator of body fat; for example, individuals with greater muscle mass or larger bones will have higher BMIs. Also, thresholds between "normal" and "overweight" and between "overweight" and "obese" are frequently disputed.
The minimum recommended total body fat percentage exceeds the essential fat percentage value. A number of methods are available for determining body fat percentage, such as measurement with calipers or through the use of bioelectrical impedance analysis.
Essential fat is the level below which physical and physiological health would be negatively affected. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. The percentage of essential fat is 3–5% in men, and 8–12% in women. There is no single ideal percentage of body fat for everyone. Levels of body fat are epidemiologically dependent on sex and age.
The table below shows average Body Fat Percentages for man and woman in different categories
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