The percentage of body fat in healthy humans ranges from 5 to 40 per cent. Females have more body fat than males. Athletes vary in body fat depending on their sport. Distance runners tend to have a low fat content. While most humans have too much fat some get carried away with trying to achieve unrealistic, unhealthy low levels. For females, body fat should not be less than 15 percent and for males, not less than 5 percent. Excess dieting can cause loss of muscle mass and strength along with fat. Most athletes perform best in the low-fat rather than the very-low-fat range.
There are several ways of measuring body fat:
measuring skin-fold thickness with calipers, hydrostatic weighing, where a person's underwater weight is compared with his dry-land weight to determine body density, which is inversely proportional to body fat, and the impedance system, which measures the body's resistance to electrical current. This test is a an accurate reflection of lean body mass and thus a good way to estimate total body fat.
Most health and fitness clubs will measure body fat percent for a small fee.
Read this document on "Understanding Your Body Fat Percentage" from @ HealthCheck Systems
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