Body fat percentage: How much body fat is ideal?

Body fat is dependent on many factors: So you calculate your body fat percentage and reduce it. With table and the optimal value for your gender and age.

Which body fat percentage (KFA) is healthy and when does it start to get risky? When stars and starlets lose a lot of weight and their crisp celebrity poses flicker across the screen and the six-pack really looks good, it goes through all channels.

The celebrities have very different methods: some rely on intensive endurance and strength training with a personal coach, while others mainly use the method of improving their nutrition.

US model Kim Kardashian, for example, has lost almost 20 kilos of body fat - through a diet with a strict 1800-calorie daily intake, and she also did some crisp workouts. Robbie Williams lost over 10 kilos within a few months on a strictly vegan diet.

Since VIPs always have a role model function, experts are alarmed, however. After all, fat cells are not only responsible for a higher BMI (Body Mass Index; ratio of weight to the square of the height) and unloved hip pads, but also protect the organs, among other things.

Too little fat reserves can also lead to immune disorders: After all, fatty tissue is an important factor in immune defence. The messenger substances from the fatty tissue have a variety of effects on the immune system.

How much body fat is healthy?
The optimal body fat percentage, in short: KFA, depends on individual factors such as age, sex and physique. Our tables (see below) show you the ideal amount of body fat for each individual.

If the value is too high, bad blood values and blood pressure usually increase, which often leads to calcification of the blood vessels.

This increases the risk of diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You can determine your fat percentage in your body with our body fat calculator.

Especially a considerable abdominal girth is not without risk - because especially the fat on the abdomen, also known as visceral fatty tissue, is not without risk.

Important: Even slim people can have a high percentage of body fat, because fat is also stored inside the body, for example in the muscles and organs.

If, on the other hand, the level of body fat is less than 6 percent in men and 12 percent in women, this results in disorders in the organism.

Body fat - where it sits is also decisive
A nice round bottom is not only a visual benefit! A higher percentage of body fat on the buttocks and hips can protect against cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

This is assured by scientists from the University of Oxford in Great Britain. The researchers had evaluated several large population studies that examined the relationship between increased body fat in the buttocks, hips and thighs and various blood values.

The explanation: A high abdominal girth or thick padding on the stomach can release harmful fatty acids and send cytokines into the body, which can cause inflammation.

Hip, thigh and buttock fat, on the other hand, traps these acids and prevents them from sticking to the liver or muscles, where they can cause numerous health problems.

The nice consequence of having body fat in the right place: blood fat levels are better, and vascular calcification and stiffness are reduced.

And so, what is supposed to be bad news turns into good news, because: We all know how hard it is to get rid of the butt and hip gold.

According to these new findings, it is therefore no longer necessary - if only the belly fat does not become too much. So your motto for the future should be: belly gone!

"Unwanted fat deposits around the liver or heart are undesirable, and they can exist even though you can't see them from the outside," said Jimmy Bell of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre.

He added that studies were increasingly showing that a person's health did not depend on total body fat, but on where the fat deposits were stored.

Figure Check is therefore always a complete program - but reducing the abdominal girth with suitable workouts is a good start.

Reduce body fat - this is how it works
To lose a pound or two in the right places, you don't have to take a radical cure. This would be counterproductive on the one hand, because strict diets, for example, slow down your metabolism and reduce your basic energy metabolism - the yoyo effect occurs. In addition, very ascetic nutrition programs and hard diets are usually not good for your health either.

In order to lose body fat in the long term, you should instead limit your daily energy intake only moderately - or consume enough calories through sports activities.

Reduce body fat percentage through more conscious nutrition
Experts recommend that all those who want to lose weight, whether men or women, should have a daily deficit of between 500 and 800 calories. But how high is your daily requirement actually?

You can calculate it quickly and easily with our calorie calculator. To reduce your body fat percentage, you then subtract at least 500 calories from the calculated total requirement - this gives you your ideal energy input per day for losing weight.

Reduce body fat percentage through sports activities
If it is not easy for you to lose weight through diet, then you still have the second option - through increased energy consumption.

This can be sporting activities such as running, cycling or swimming, but also everyday activities.

On our homepage you will find not only a training program for each goal and for each sporting discipline - fat killer plans to lose weight, but also to improve performance.

Strength training increases the basal metabolic rate
Another way to attack the abdominal girth and boost the metabolism is strength training. After all, muscles are your body's furnaces - the more of them you have, the higher your daily energy requirement or basal metabolic rate will be.

A nice side effect: You pad up in the right places - including a firm bottom and a strong six-pack.

Calculate body fat percentage: There are these measurement methods…
Bio-Impedance Analysis
If you want to know for sure: The bio-impedance analysis provides detailed information about your body composition. You can buy BIA body fat scales for home use in sports shops. In addition to the kilo value, these body analysis products also determine the water, muscle and body fat percentage.

So you can see immediately whether your training has really left unloved hip gold by the wayside or whether you have simply lost water or even muscle tissue - which is very counterproductive if you want to reduce fat tissue. The more body fat there is, the higher the resistance.

The measured value is combined with previously entered data such as height, body weight, age and sex to form a formula. However, depending on the product, these are not always accurate. If you want to have exact values, you can always get them during a BIA check, which is carried out by sports doctors and sometimes by alternative practitioners.

There the current is not only conducted through the lower body (as with household fat scales), but also through the upper body by means of extra electrodes. This gives more correct results. However, physical activities, nutrition or drinking behaviour and menstrual cycle influence the results.

Near Infrared Method
Here, an infrared head is directed directly at a predetermined point on the biceps. However, this method is not entirely accurate, as the complete body fat content is determined from a subcutaneous wrinkle measurement.

Skin fold measurement with Caliper
The cheapest method: Caliper for measuring skin wrinkles is available online for under 10 Euros.

Important here: It must definitely always be measured in exactly the same places to achieve comparable results. Since you can't do it cleanly on your own, you should have a partner to help you - preferably always the same person.

Magnetic resonance tomography
As this method, in contrast to the simple skin fold measurement & Co. is connected with a very high financial expenditure, we will not go into this in detail here, but mention it only for the sake of completeness.

BMI still meaningful?
Weighing, calculating or measuring? What is the best way to find out whether you are too fat, where the fat is and how dangerous to health?

For years, the Body Mass Index (BMI) was considered the absolute guideline. To determine it, body size and mass are put into relation to each other. A shortcoming of the BMI is that it does not distinguish between muscle and fat content, so that well-trained, heavy athletes, for example, do not get off to a good start. It also does not work properly with children.

Now American researchers have developed the so-called Body Adiposity Index (BAI). It relates hip circumference to body size and makes it possible to determine the percentage of body fat.

Researchers at the German Institute of Nutrition Research in Potsdam-Rehbrücke and the University of Tübingen have now compared the meaningfulness of the two indices. Their verdict: the new BAI is not superior to the old BMI when it comes to estimating the percentage of body fat.

The BMI is even more closely related to the distribution of body fat. "Particularly among male study participants, the estimation of the percentage body fat percentage with the help of the BAI was inaccurate," said Mathias Schulze, head of the study. To determine the risk of diabetes, the researchers also found it useful to measure the waist circumference.

Body fat - calculate BMI and BAI correctly
These formulas show you how to calculate the BMI and BAI at a glance:

How to calculate the BMI
Weight in kg divided by the square of the height in m
Evaluation: BMI up to 25 = normal.

How to calculate the BAI
Hip circumference in cm divided by (body height in m times the root of the body height in m) minus 18 = percentage of body fat
Evaluation: Women should not have more than 35%, men not more than 22%.

Waist circumference
Measure with a tape measure about the height of the navel.
Evaluation: Women should not measure more than 87 cm, men not more than 101 cm.