ZocdocAnswersWhat is the minimum amount of body fat that I should have?

Question

What is the minimum amount of body fat that I should have?

I am a 20+ year old male

Answer

This is a difficult question to answer without knowing more about other aspects of your health. Usually physicians resort to the body mass index measurement to decide whether someone has enough weight, or if they should lose weight. The body mass index is calculated by dividing the persons weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. In general, a body mass index between 20 and 25 is considered normal. Between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. Above 30 is considered obese. If one of my patients presented this question to me, I would only be worried if their body weight was significantly below 20. For example, if you do this calculation on yourself and your body mass index is 16, then likely you do not have enough body fat. On the other hand, people with certain body types may be "underweight" if their body mass index is 19. Since maintaining a healthy weight should be an important part of your lifestyle, you should pose this question to your primary care physician. He or she can calculate your body mass index for you and determine what range you currently sit. If you are significantly underweight, then your doctor may give you a new target weight to shoot for.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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