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Best Body Fat Percent For Ideal Body Fat Composition

By Dennis Clark

Body Fat Composition vs Body Weight

Diet, fitness, or other approaches to weight management miss the point. The problem is not weight management. It is fat management. For example, if you are 35 percent body fat, your body fat composition would be the same even on the moon. However, if you weigh 200 lbs on Earth, your weight would be about 33 lbs on the moon, still with 35 percent body fat.

You want to lose body fat, not necessarily weight.

Calculating Body Fat and Kinds of Fat

White fat and brown fat are the two main types of adipose tissue. You also have fat in every cell membrane in your body. There is no easy way to tell how much of each type of fat you have.

The newest research on fat types is about brown fat. It used to be known as just baby fat. Now we know that it also occurs in adults. Adults carry it mostly it around the neck and in the upper chest area. Scientists now know that the more brown fat we have, the better we are at balancing our body fat composition. This means that brown fat helps us from gaining belly fat.

When you have too much white fat, it shows mostly as too much fat around your belly. White fat also adds up easily on buttocks and thighs and on upper arms.

Ideally, the best fat loss would therefore be white fat loss. Indeed, better weight management would include getting your body to make more brown fat and less white fat. So far, scientists have succeeded in getting mice to do this in laboratory research. We do not yet know whether this will work in people. Of course, drug companies are seeking a new miracle drug that will do this for you. No such thing is available at the moment.

Advice About Body Fat

You can measure your percent body fat in three main ways. Each method has a different level of accuracy. Keep in mind that your body fat percent will vary depending on the method of measurement.

The most accurate is the submersion test, where your buoyancy in water is used to calculate body fat percent. The second most accurate method is through impedance devices. These are now available as bathroom scales that read body fat and as handheld devices that use the same principle. In my personal experience, my handheld impedance device measures about 3 percent higher than does the submersion method.

Body fat calculations based on caliper measurements are the least accurate. They depend too much on the highly variable strength of pinching from one examiner to another.

Regardless of the result that you get, there is a range of body fat composition that is best for optimum health and weight (fat) management. There is no magic number for everyone. Indeed, numbers are always higher for women than for men, and they increase with age.

Nutritionists generally recommend the following body fat percents as the healthiest by gender and age group:


20 to 40 yrs, 21 to 33 percent fat

41 to 60 yrs, 23 to 35 percent fat

61 to 79 yrs, 24 to 36 percent fat


20 to 40 yrs, 8 to 19 percent fat

41 to 60 yrs, 11 to 22 percent fat

61 to 79 yrs, 13 to 25 percent fat

Obesity and overweight are considered to be above these ranges. These are the target values for optimum health and fitness. It is amazing how much body fat some people can carry above the maximum value. The highest body fat percent that I ever measured in one of my clients was 48 percent. This was for a woman in her 50s. Incredible!

Body Fat Percent Can Be Too Low

What may not be so obvious is that numbers below these health ranges are not necessarily healthier just because they are lower. You need body fat in the right amounts, of the right types, in the right places for optimum health and body image.

Looking to find the easiest way to change your body fat composition, then visit to find Dr. Dennis Clark’s the best advice on reducing body fat percent and how you can use the best secret of all.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Clark, Dennis "Best Body Fat Percent For Ideal Body Fat Composition." Best Body Fat Percent For Ideal Body Fat Composition. 25 Jun. 2010. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Clark, D (2010, June 25). Best Body Fat Percent For Ideal Body Fat Composition. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Clark, Dennis "Best Body Fat Percent For Ideal Body Fat Composition"

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