Use this nifty tool to work out how much body fat you have currently. Why is this important? Well it gives you an indication of how fit you are.
This is an indicator only. There is no universally accepted ideal of body fat percentage. Body fat levels will vary according to gender and age.
The American Council on Exercise (not a government agency) provides a table to indicate average percentages:
- Essential fat 10–13% Female, 2–5% Male
- Athletes 14–20% Female, 6–13% Male
- Fitness 21–24% Female, 14–17% Male
- Average 25–31% Female, 18–24% Male
- Obese 32%+ 25%+
If your result is acceptable, it may be more appropriate for you to focus on diet. If it is unacceptable then diet and exercise is likely to have better a impact for you.
“Essential fat is the level below which physical and physiological health would be negatively affected. Controversy exists as to whether a particular body fat percentage is better for one’s health; athletic performance may also be affected. The leanest athletes typically compete at levels of about 6–13% for men or 14–20% for women. Bodybuilders may compete at ranges even lower than these levels. Certified personal trainers will suggest to male bodybuilders that they aim for a body fat percentage between 2% and 4% by contest time. However it is unclear that such levels are ever actually attained since (a) the means to measure such levels are, as noted below, lacking in principle, are inaccurate, and (b) 4–6% is generally considered a physiological minimum for human males”. Wikipedia