My work just finished up with a Health appraisal for each employee through the Grand Valley Health plan. My body fat percentage is considered healthy for my age, but I was told that in order to be disease free I should have a body fat count of 25%. Is this true and if so what can I do to lower or maintain a 25% goal?

Thanks for your question Shannyn. Yes, as a female, 25% is considered healthy. However, disease states have multiple risk factors, and body fat is just one of them. In addition, many experts use BMI (body mass index) when studying those that are overweight and obese because it is easier to calculate a BMI than to accurately assess a body fat percentage. It has been well studied that a body fat of >25% for men and >33% for women or a BMI greater than 30 for either gender is a major coronary risk factor. But what is becoming more understood is the fact that leading a sedentary lifestyle, regardless of your fat weight puts you at risk for many disease factors. In fact, the New York Times, just reported that “about half of overweight people and one-third of obese people have normal ‘good’ cholesterol, blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors. And several studies show physical activity is far more important to health than body size is.” Therefore, some would say that you are better off being fat and fit than thin and sedentary.

So, the best way to lower your body fat and/or maintain it while also decreasing your risk for disease is to eat right and EXERCISE!!

Below, I have included the ranges for both BMI and Body fat percentage:

BMI (both male and female)
normal weight, 18.5-24.9
overweight, 25.0-29.9
obese class I, 30.0-34.9












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