High Body Fat Percentage

High Body Fat Percentage: Overview

A certain amount of fat is essential to bodily functions.  Fat helps regulate body temperature, store energy, and cushion and insulate organs.  The percentage of body weight that makes up this "essential fat" is around 4% of body weight for men and 10% for women.  Beyond that, there is a fairly wide range of what is considered a healthy percentage of body fat.

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Essential fat is the fat needed for healthy functioning.  This fat is found in the bone marrow and spinal cord; it surrounds the liver, spleen, heart, kidneys, and other organs.  We also have fat in our breasts and genitals and in muscle tissue.  In addition to this, most of us have some storage fat.  Too low a body fat percentage results in amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) in women, because the body senses inadequate energy reserves or high physical stress – and won't sustain a pregnancy, for example.  Some experts believe that 17% body fat is needed for the onset of menses, and 22% body fat is needed to maintain normal menstrual cycles.  Of course, some people are healthy outside these parameters.

Your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains.  So, if you are 150 pounds and have 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds of fat and 135 pounds of lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else).

The American Dietetic Association recommends that men have 15-18% body fat and women have 20-25% body fat.  The following table describes body fat ranges and their associated categories, according to the American Council on Exercise:

Essential fat10-12%2-4%
Obese32% plus25% plus

"Overweight" is defined as an excess amount of body weight, including fat, muscle, bone and water.  "Obesity" is defined as an excess amount of body fat.  Thus an athlete or muscular person may be overweight without being obese.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a height/weight formula used by health professionals to assess a person's body weight.  In short, the higher your BMI, the greater the risk of developing additional health problems.  Using BMI to gauge weight has its limitations.  For example, BMI fails to consider fat/muscle ratio.  Thus a healthy, muscular individual with very low body fat may be classified obese using the BMI formula.  So if you are a trained athlete or bodybuilder, a weight-assessment based on your percentage of body fat would be a better indicator of what you should weigh.

BMI also takes no specific account of body-frame size, so people with stocky builds/large body frames may be considered overweight even if they don't have a lot of body fat.  Other individuals to whom the BMI does not apply include: people under 18 or over 65 years, and pregnant or breast-feeding women.

Causes and Development

Body fat is increased by taking in more calories than you expend, not by eating certain foods.

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A High Body Fat Percentage:

Recommendations for High Body Fat Percentage:

Botanical / Herbal


With the use of tribulus, the benefits for the person engaged in active training and workout are muscle cell growth and increased body strength as well as faster recuperation and recovery from muscular stress.  For years, tribestan, an extract of tribulus, has been used by athletes of the Soviet bloc.  Tribulus has become increasingly popular with athletes because it reportedly increases strength and stamina.


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