Is 13 percent body fat good?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is 13 percent body fat good?” and provide information on how body fat percentage can be calculated.

Is 13 percent body fat good?

Yes, 13 percent body fat is good. Male athletes need to have 6 to 13 percent body fat. Women athletes are supposed to have 14 to 20 percent body fat. This makes 13 percent body fat desirable especially for men.

However, if you are not an athlete, you are supposed to have 14-24 percent body fat. In women, the body fat is supposed to be 21-31percent.

If the body fat is higher than 25 percent in men, they are characterized as obese. If the body fat goes higher than 32 percent in women, they are characterized as obese.

How can body fat percentage be measured?

Body fat percentage can be measured through many techniques which are given below:

  • Calipers are the most inexpensive and simplest ways to measure body fat percentage. Three locations are used to measure body fat percentage using skin calipers. This can include thighs, abs, and chest.

The calipers can be used to measure subcutaneous fat (fat present below the skin). The numbers obtained from the skin caliper can then be added to an online calculator which can give your body fat percentage.

However, skin calipers are not necessarily accurate. Besides, you might not get accurate results if you are obese. As a result, it is better to monitor body fat using other instruments to get an accurate measure.

One of the best parts of using a skin caliper is that it is pretty cheap. It is better than professional assessments of body fat which can be comparatively costlier.

  • Bioimpedance can be another way to check for body fat percentage. Some scales can come with footplates on which you might have to keep your foot and stand. 

Some scales come with hand plates. You might have to hold these hand plates and then stand on the scale to get the body fat measurement.

Apart from body fat percentage, bioimpedance might also give other measures too. Bioimpedance works by sending an electric current through the body. This electric current is able to detect the amount of water, muscles, and fats.

Bioimpedance can be a quicker way of checking body fat percentage. However, the accuracy of the results can be a bit low. 

It is more accurate than the skin caliper. However, if you are dehydrated, it can overestimate the amount of fat present in the body. 

Certain models used to measure fat can be expensive. Apart from this, individuals on pacemakers might not be able to use them.

  • Underwater weighing also called hydrostatic weighing can be another way to check body fat percent. Individuals containing higher body fat levels would not weigh much underwater. This is because fat is denser.

For underwater weighing, individuals are made to sit on a chair and weigh themselves on a scale. Once the air is removed from the lungs, the individual is kept inside a tank containing water. They should not be restless to obtain an accurate measure of body fat.

Underwater weighing can give proper and accurate results. However, this comes with a price. It is very expensive! Underwater weighing might be done in many research institutes and universities but it is not open to the public.

Apart from this, being submerged underwater is not easy for individuals who are afraid of drowning. Elderly people and small children are not recommended to undergo this technique.

Athletes cannot measure body fat percent using this technique. This is because they have higher bone density compared to others. Besides, this technique does not give an estimate of where the excess fat is located.

  • The air displacement technique is somewhat similar to underwater weighing. However, instead of water, the air is used to measure a person’s body fat percentage.

The machine is able to check an individual’s body fat percentage by looking at the amount of air that is displaced. The amount of air displaced can give body density which in turn can help in checking body fat percentage.

  • Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) can be used to measure an individual’s bone mineral density. 

Even though DEXA is primarily used to check bone density, it can also be used to check one’s body composition. An X-ray beam passes through your body to check body composition.

DEXA can be safe to use and can be one of the best ways to measure body composition. However, it can be very expensive. 


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is 13 percent body fat good?” and provided information on how body fat percentage can be calculated.


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