Calculate your body fat percentage. Enter your height, weight, and waist size to estimate your body fat percentage and total body fat weight.

How to calculate body fat

The only accurate way to calculate body fat is through a physical test performed in a bath of saltwater that measures your buoyancy and calculates body fat based on your overall weight. That does not mean you cannot estimate it based on your height, weight, and waist size. The following formula is accurate within 3-4% of the actual value for most individuals.

Healthy Body Fat

In general, body fat is the best indicator of physical health that there is. It’s far superior to BMI and other similar metrics. That’s because high body fat correlates with a lower life expectancy and higher rates of heart disease and several other deathly diseases.

There is also such thing as too little body fat or malnourished. The current science states that between 7-17% body fat is optimal for general health for men and 14-25% for women. For athletics performance, 7-10% is preferred for men and 14-20% for women.

Another consideration for body fat deals with genetics. It’s commonly known that a healthy level of body fat will vary between people. For example, some people naturally store fewer calories in fat than others.

Body Fat Percentage

Perhaps the most accurate measure of health when it comes to your weight is body fat %. The following list outlines healthy levels of body fat for the average individual. 

Description  Women        Men

Essential fat  10–13%       2–5%

Very lean       14–20%       6–13%

Lean               21–25%       14–17%

Normal           26–31%       18–22%

Overweight    32–39%       23–29%

Obese          40% or more 30% or more

There is still debate on the healthiest body fat percentage for individuals, but it’s generally accepted that the lean and normal ranges are the healthiest. 

This does not include athletes, which may require much lower body fat percentages to compete at the highest level. 

What do these body fat percentages look like? 

Alright, you’ve figured out your estimated body fat % based on this calculation, but how would you look at other %? Below are examples of individuals are different body fat percentages. 

You may be thinking to yourself. I calculated my body fat % at the same as above, but it didn’t look as good or bad as they did. 1) The calculated above is an estimation, so it might not be 100% accurate. 2) The amount of muscle you have drastically affects how you look at different body fat percentages. 

Body Fat and Your Health

While it is true that body fat is essential for many functions in the human body, too much of it can cause a host of health issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • Heart disease and strokes
  • certain types of cancer
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • fatty liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pregnancy issues

Being overweight should not be taken lightly. Obesity is a major factor in the development of heart disease, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. 

If you do find yourself on the heavier side, or even obese, it’s never too late to get healthy. Not only will losing weight help you look physically better, but it will also improve your mental health. There is a strong, strong, correlation between healthy individuals and lower rates of depression and anxiety. A doctor once said that if they could put the benefits of exercise into a pill, they would recommend it over an anti-depressant existing today.