What is an average level of body fat

Average body fat percentages vary among the sexes and among different age groups. The female hormone estrogen causes women to carry about 5% more body fat than men. The average woman has about 23% body fat and the average man approximately 17%. In both sexes, body fat increases while lean body mass decreases with age.

According to Dr. William Evans of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, the average American loses 6.6 pounds of lean body mass every decade after age 20. The rate of muscle loss increases after age 45. With advancing age, most people gain fat even when body weight doesn't change much; the muscle shrinks as the fat accumulates. The average male college student (age 20) has about 15% body fat. The average sedentary middle-aged male has 25% body fat or more.

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