Age-Adusted Body Fat Percentage Recommendations

I was pretty excited when I saw this on the BE board today. If this is correct, then I am only 1% from being in a normal body fat range. Wow! 1% is only 1.7 pounds. Heck, call it 2 pounds of fat. I have never been within 1% of a healthy goal before. How cool is that? 

What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

Age-Adjusted Body Fat Charts for Men and Women

If you look around the Internet, you will see a lot of different recommendations for body fat percentages. As far as I can tell, this is the most authoritative, as it is based on World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health recommendations, and takes age into account. Please do not confuse these numbers with the BMI (Body Mass Index) scores, which are not the same thing.


Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 21% 21-33% 33-39% Over 39%
41-60 yrs Under 23% 23-35% 35-40% Over 40%
61-79 yrs Under 24% 24-36% 36-42% Over 42%


Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 8% 8-19% 19-25% Over 25%
41-60 yrs Under 11% 11-22% 22-27% Over 27%
61-79 yrs Under 13% 13-25% 25-30% Over 30%

Source: Gallagher et al. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 72:694-701

3 thoughts on “Age-Adusted Body Fat Percentage Recommendations

    • It was from a post on BE that Sherie posted and I followed up on the citation and went to the original journal article. Here’s the citation if you want to google it: Gallagher et al. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 72:694-701

  1. First, I enjoy your blog. I have been “lurking” for some time, and this is my first comment.

    I really hate to ask, but are you sure you read the article? Because that table and text above are actually not at all what’s in the article.

    Couple of points: First, the table is created using data from a real table in the article that corresponds BMI to body fat percentage – implying that BMI and body fat percentage are closely related.

    The table (Table 4 found at this link to the full article: is actually observed data for African Americans and Whites only, and it is derived from observed data and an equation (their equation 5) that is meant to show the relationship between actual BMI and actual body fat percentages – NOT RECOMMENDATIONS – merely observations.

    The table and text you posted above comes from; all the “guide” there did was manipulate the data from that table, claim that these are “recommendations” and publish it.

    This mini-rant really has nothing to do with your post – it has everything to do with allowing stuff to be twisted and published on their site such that it gets cited as fact by people like you and me.

    If you feel as duped as I did, please let the world know that they always need to check the sources of the so-called experts.

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