What's a "Normal" Body Fat Percentage For Men?

5 mins read
man measuring waist
Written by:
The BodySpec Team

So, what constitutes a "normal" body fat percentage for men, how average body fat percentages have changed over time, and the nuances in body fat types. Dive into the differences between subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, and brown and white adipose tissue. Examine the average body fat percentages in men by age and compare them to women's average percentages. Learn about the importance of maintaining a healthy body fat percentage for overall well-being.

What Body Fat Percentage is Normal For Men?

A normal body fat percentage for men depends on various factors, including age, activity level, and overall health. In general, a healthy body fat percentage for adult men ranges from 18% to 24%. However, these numbers can vary, and it's essential to remember that individual factors should be considered when assessing what constitutes a "normal" body fat percentage.

How Have Average Body Fat Percentages Changed in Men?

Over the past few decades, average body fat percentages in men have increased, partly due to changes in lifestyle and dietary habits. Sedentary jobs, a decrease in physical activity, and an increase in processed and high-calorie foods have contributed to this trend. Public health campaigns and greater awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy body fat percentage are crucial in addressing this issue. The epidemic of Low Testosterone is also a key contributor.

Does Body Fat Have Nuances? Are There Types of Fat?

Sure are, gents: Body fat has nuances and can be classified into different types:

Subcutaneous fat: Located just beneath the skin, this fat is the most visible type and can be measured using skinfold calipers.
Visceral fat: Found deep within the abdominal cavity (belly), visceral fat surrounds our internal organs and is tied to the most serious health risks, including heart diseases and diabetes. The BodySpec Dexa scan breaks out these different types of fat so you can see and target your health risks.
Brown adipose tissue: This type of fat generates heat and helps regulate body temperature.
White adipose tissue: This fat stores energy and releases it when needed.

So what's normal? Well, healthy and normal may be different. Normal, as in average, has quite a range:

Male AgeNormal Body Fat Percentage
Male AgeElite Body Fat Percentage

These numbers are approximate and should be considered a rough guideline. Individual factors, such as genetics, muscle mass, and activity level, can influence body fat percentages.

Does the Average Body Fat Percent in Men Compare to that of Women?

The average body fat percentage in men is generally lower than that of women due to factors such as hormones, genetics, and body composition. Women typically have a higher percentage of body fat due to their reproductive system and the role of hormones such as estrogen in fat distribution. It's essential to understand that these differences are normal and that maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is crucial for overall health and well-being.

Article Highlights

  • A normal body fat percentage for men varies depending on age, but typically falls between 18% and 24%.
  • Average body fat percentages in men have increased over the past decades, partly due to sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition.
  • There are nuances in body fat, including subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, and brown and white adipose tissue.
  • A table of body fat percentages in men by age can provide a rough guideline for what is considered normal or healthy.
  • Average body fat percentages differ between men and women due to factors such as hormones, genetics, and body composition.

Gallagher, D., Heymsfield, S. B., Heo, M., Jebb, S. A., Murgatroyd, P. R., & Sakamoto, Y. (2000) Healthy percentage body fat ranges: an approach for developing guidelines based on body mass index.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(3), 694-701. Link to article.

Flegal, K. M., Carroll, M. D., Ogden, C. L., & Johnson, C. L. (2002). Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2000. JAMA, 288(14), 1723-1727. Link to article.

Heymsfield, S. B., & Wadden, T. A. (2017). Mechanisms, Pathophysiology, and Management of Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(3), 254-266. Link to article.

Tchernof, A., & Després, J. P. (2013). Pathophysiology of human visceral obesity: an update. Physiological reviews, 93(1), 359-404. Link to article.

Wells, J. C. K. (2012). Sexual dimorphism of body composition. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 26(4), 415-427. Link to article.

Kyle, U. G., Genton, L., & Pichard, C. (2002). Low phase angle determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis is associated with malnutrition and nutritional risk at hospital admission. Clinical Nutrition, 21(3), 199-204. Link to article.

Hall, K. D., & Guo, J. (2017). Obesity energetics: body weight regulation and the effects of diet composition. Gastroenterology, 152(7), 1718-1727. Link to article.

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