What body fat percentage is obese?

What body fat percentage is obese?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to tell your body fat percentage, this article is perfect for you. There are two different ways to calculate it - the BMI and the waist-to-hip ratio. When calculating obesity using BMI, the cut-off points are 25% for men and 33% for women. The cut-offs when measuring by waist-to-hip ratio are 31% for men and 35% for women. (Trusted sources 1*2*)

Table of Contents

What is body fat percentage?

Body fat percentage is a measure that lets us know how much fat you have is either a percentage or in ounces.

Body fat percentage is the way to know how much fat you have. And though it may sound like an abstract, scientific concept to some people, for others, this measurement will be the difference between life and death.

How to calculate your body fat percentage

Three vital signs can measure body Fat Percentage: your height, weight, and waist measurement (girth). This is called the "Body Mass Index" (BMI). BMI formulas are essential worldwide because they help to predict health risks associated with obesity. The formula for BMI is calculated like so: 

Weight in pounds x 703 ÷ (height in inches X height)² = Weight's "metric conversion factor." Divide that number from your total weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Then multiply this number of kilograms from above by 10 column points for men and 9 column points for women.

We all know that we should take care of our bodies, and it's essential to understand how well you're doing. An easy way to do so is by calculating your BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index. This calculator will help you find out what yours is!

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Body fat percentages for men and women

Answer: The body fat percentages for men and women are, on average, much different. On average, a man has 12-18% body fat, whereas a woman will have 20-30%.

The first sex difference occurred when the Y chromosome was created as part of the process that placed more responsibility for paternal care in males.

Over time this added to the collection of differences between females and males (along with everything from our chromosomes to hormonal profiles).

One other significant difference is that women's bodies store more fat in their breasts, hips, thighs, and bellies than men do. Men also tend to gain around 33 pounds during puberty (so there's no need to "eat clean" or hit those high protein levels).

Female hormones like estrogen can make it easier to store fat and more challenging to break it down.

If you're a woman trying to lose weight, that's something worth remembering!

What is obese according to the BMI scale 

Obesity, according to the BMI, is a person who's over 30 kilograms above their ideal weight. That means that if they're 5'8" (70 inches or 175cm) tall, their ideal weight would be 128 lbs.

Many people think of obesity as just 'too fat,' but being obese includes too much muscle and too little fat to the point where there are high risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

Depending on what position they're holding, people may not show any outward signs of obesity. Things like pockets in clothes can camouflage it well enough for some parts of their body.

Other parts might be showing signs of poor health by looking at them from an angle that shows more skin than usual.

What are the health risks of obesity? 

risks of obesity

Obesity can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and various types of cancer. It is vital for people who are overweight or obese to lose weight because it can help reduce the risk of developing these diseases and conditions.


Obesity can cause death by increasing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Obesity leads to all causes of death because of the complications from these diseases.

Difficulty with physical functioning and body pain

It has long been known that obesity is related to pain and difficulty with physical functioning. In fact, obesity causes so many problems with:

  • Mobility.
  • Muscle strength.
  • Balance.
  • Increased load on joints.
  • Restriction of airways for those who sleep on the side or back.
  • Lung compliance decreases, which leads to more insufficient oxygen intake from everyday air.
  • Aging becomes more pronounced because the body is loaded down by extra weight.

It's essential not only to go into a healthy lifestyle but also to exercise regularly. Also, consider what you eat when trying to lose weight, limiting calories, or restricting food types to reach the goals accurately.


High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides can give you an increased risk for heart disease. Obesity can cause dyslipidemia because of the high levels of triglycerides. (3*)


Obesity can high blood pressure (hypertension), leading to stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from high blood pressure. High cholesterol levels can lead to increased risk for diabetes and strokes, which is why we must find ways to help lower these numbers and decrease risks.

In recent years, many health advocates have become concerned about the alarming rise in cases of hypertension among American citizens. According to new data released by them, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) found that higher stress levels may be one contributing factor to this spike. (4*)


Can being overweight cause stroke? Yes. Although the risk is not as considerable as traditional high cholesterol or smoking, too much fat can still provoke a stroke.

As excess weight accumulates in body fat, it presses on and damages the walls of blood vessels that supply various organs with oxygen-rich blood, like the heart or brain.

This may result in damage to these organs and increase their susceptibility to conditions like a stroke. That directly affects our heart's ability to pump correctly. It also affects our brain functions how it should, namely, activating all muscles linearly one after another to maintain balance (e.g., having trouble coordinating your left hand with your right). (5*)


Obesity is one cause of diabetes because it causes insulin resistance and type II diabetes mellitus in people already at risk for developing it. Obesity can also lead to prediabetes, which means that a person's sugar control or blood glucose level is higher than average. (6*)

Coronary heart disease

Obesity alone does not directly cause heart disease. Weight gain can cause numerous factors that, when combined, will increase the risk of heart and cardiovascular problems.

These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels in the bloodstream (from decreased efforts to metabolize LDL cholesterol), and increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, increasing an individual's chances of experiencing a stroke.

Insulin resistance syndrome is also a factor contributing to cardiovascular disease development, and this occurs when there is too much weight around the middle.

The middle of the body is a place where fat cells can be found. These little guys have inflammatory cytokines inside, requiring more help from our immune system to keep them in check.

A white blood cell will go into battle against these baddies and take back any lipocytes that try to escape! (7*)

Breathing problems and sleep apnea 

It's possible. Sleep apnea has been linked to obesity, and the two share a common precursor condition called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA). (8*)

Obesity is responsible for about 20% of all cases of OSA. The risk factors for developing OSA include:

  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Being male (in comparison to women)
  • Having problems with your jaw alignment that cause your airway to become narrow and blocked easily with a recurrence during sleep.
  • Using sedating medications, specifically those used in the treatment of depression.
  • Large neck size is also a risk factor for developing OSA.

Gallbladder disease

Gallbladder disease is often associated with obesity. Carrying extra weight in and around your middle can put pressure on the abdomen.

Excess body fat can make it harder for your liver to pump bile into the intestines for digestion. This slows down digestion which means you're more likely to get constipated or have stomach pains from gas.

Bile aids in fat metabolism by neutralizing acids made during digestion that cause diarrhea, carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals, and detoxifies cholesterol-lowering biliary metabolites like bilirubin.

If there isn't enough bile produced, then these acids will lead to a build-up of toxins in the gut, leading to gallstones. It's also worth mentioning that one of the leading causes of gallstones is excess weight and cholesterol in the gut. (9*)


Is osteoarthritis disease connected to body fat? Answer: Yes and no. That depends on what you mean by "connect."

The most common type of osteoarthritis is knee osteoarthritis, and it's often diagnosed in obese individuals due to excess weight loading the knee joint.

Obesity then leads to wear and tear at these joints from being overused beyond its natural capacity. A conception called a positive feedback loop where obesity leads to pain makes patients more sedentary, contributing to further weight gain.

So yes, any disease that would be exacerbated by carrying more fat could have those effects amplified on an obese person, but this dependence doesn't exist only at the level of fat accumulation. It also might depend on levels of muscle mass or bone density. (10*)


Cancer can indeed be connected to body fat, but it is not precisely the number of fat cells.

Excess calories from sugar and other high sugars foods stimulate a specific set of hormones called insulin-resistance hormones, which prevent normal functioning glucose uptake by cells.

The result can eventually lead to obesity as the pancreas has difficulty producing enough insulin.

Ongoing exposure to too many nutrients and insufficient uptake for repair causes tissues to deteriorate, resulting in pre-cancerous changes and full tumors recurring over time.

Unfortunately, overweight or obese people also have elevated levels of estrogen, which stimulates tumor growth. So it's essential for them that they live a healthy lifestyle if they want to fight these diseases! (11*)

Low quality of life

It's hard to tell how much body fat contributes to the quality of life, but different types of fats are associated with various diseases.

Animal fats such as lard and butter can be stored in cells for protection when food is scarce. They also have a solid connection to cardiovascular disease.

On the other hand, vegetable oils are fragile in comparison and easily burned off by exercise or exposure to high temperatures. That means that a little too much vegetable oil can result in heart problems.

The health consequences of obesity don't depend on the amount of belly fat as much as other factors, including genetics, age, and the number of copies (or type) of fat cell genes you were born with. (12*)

Mental illnesses

Clinical depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses are strongly linked to obesity.

Mental disorders have significant effects on both physical health and behavior. And often, the condition presents with some activity associated with weight gain, like uncontrolled eating. That will then lead to changes in weight either through water retention or muscle, fat, or bone loss.

We know that obesity is connected to depression (more than it would be for a more "normal" weight person.) But we don't understand all the causal pathways.

It may be because higher percentages of obese people have lower-incomes, lack high-quality social support networks, and live at higher levels of deprivation than normal-weight people do. (13*)

How to lose weight if you're overweight or obese

how to lose weight to have a good body fat percentage

Stop overeating

The best way to lose weight is to stop eating as much and drink more water. Most people overeat and consume too little fluids; if you're overweight or obese, better avoid sugar and eat whole foods.


What kind of exercise should you do to lose weight?

For people with more time who wish to go on a deliberate weight loss program, intense workouts like CrossFit may be best.

For people with less time and who're mainly looking for some cardiovascular fitness, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes a week (30 minutes each day)

There are long-term benefits that don't typically come from doing just one or two hard sessions per week. Plus, it takes much longer to build up endurance and strength than it does with aerobic fitness.

Eat regularly

When your body is constantly in the state of low blood sugar, it's always hungry and will always store fat. Eating regularly maintains a healthier blood glucose level, which can help lose weight by balancing high and low blood sugar levels.

Eat healthy fats

Fats, healthy fats are still required but should be eaten infrequently or combined with protein such as avocado on toast for breakfast rather than in cooking oils, etcetera.

Add more fiber to your diet

Add more fiber to your diet if not taking supplements!

Start with the obvious choices: beans, nuts, and whole grains. Add in a few spoonfuls of ground flaxseed.

Find it impossible to drink enough water? Use a fruit spritzer instead of plain water (add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple juice concentrate to 8 ounces of cold water).

If vegetables are an issue for you, make them more flavorful using seasonings like garlic and lemon or balsamic vinegar. Juice your vegetables, so they're easier to eat and digest.


To recap, body fat percentage is an indicator of your overall health. It can help you determine the amount of weight that should be lost to reach a healthy range for your height and frame.

We hope this blog post will give you some insight into how to calculate what percentage of body fat you have so that you know if it's time to start shedding pounds or not!