Heo, M., Faith, M. S., Pietrobelli, A., & Heymsfield, S. B. (2012). Percentage of body fat cutoffs by sex, age, and race-ethnicity in the US adult population from NHANES 1999–2004. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 95(3), 594-602.
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.
Predictors of Total Body Fat have been Externally Validated (Prof Timothy R Ackland). Validated against iDXA
Age, height, weight, gender, total body fat %
Predictors - Risk Category
TBF is mapped directly to published data
Low, Medium, High, Very High
US adult population from NHANES 1999–2004
Strengths & Weaknesses
Excess fatness in most epidemiologic studies has been defined on the basis of overweight or obese BMI (in kg/m2). However, it has often been debated whether BMI represents body fat adequately. Currently, there exists no consensus of the percentage of body fat criteria to define obesity or excess percentage of body fat.
Previous research has attempted to provide recommendations, often limited by their use of criterion standard of measurement or small populations.
Cutoffs have been proposed for three ethnicities using DXA as a criterion method by Gallagher et al., 2000. Although these cutoffs have been generally accepted as the standard for research purposes, the initial research is again limited in population size (n = 1,626).
An update to these cutoffs was proposed by Heo et al., 2012, ethnicity and sex-specific cutoffs are based on over 16,000 American adults. We have presented Heo and colleague’s cutoffs for the classification of body fat percentage below. We have also presented the cutoffs presented by Gallagher et al. 2000.
Feedback & Changes
Terminology Use "People First" language e.g. “Obese Women” becomes "Women living with Obesity"
- The World Health Organization defines obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.
- Obesity is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- The World Health Organization estimates half of the adult population worldwide are overweight or obese.
- Low Body Fat % A low body fat percentage is normally associated with the 'Underweight' BMI category and individuals who are either considered as 'lean' (excess muscle mass) or 'Underweight' (reduced body fat).
- Medium Body Fat % A medium body fat percentage is normally associated with the 'Normal' BMI category.
- High Body Fat % A high body fat percentage is normally associated with the 'Overweight' BMI category.
- Very High BF% A very high body fat percentage is normally associated with the 'Obese' BMI category.
≥ 13.83 < 24.43
≥ 26.67 < 36.67
≥ 24.43 < 29.40
≥ 36.67 < 41.40
≥ 15.03 < 24.80
≥ 27.70 < 37.20
≥ 24.80 < 29.40
≥ 37.20 < 41.70
≥ 17.87 < 27.10
≥ 30.43 < 39.33
≥ 27.10 < 31.47
≥ 39.33 < 43.53