Let’s face it. When it comes to physiology and morphology, men and women are different. Differences between the sexes can be seen in skeletal structure and size, growth of body hair, type and amount of hormones, body shape and even the tone of their voices. When it comes to body composition, it’s no different. One of the main morphological differences between the sexes is body fat.
Women accumulate more body fat than men, and there is a logical reason for this difference. Women, during the course of their life may need to sustain an embryo and then a baby from their own energy reserves. So body fat is used as stored energy to help nourish a child through this development. This is not to say that men don’t also use body fat as stored energy. Men just need less of it.
Even though there are differences between the body fat standards for men and women, the understanding that too much excess body fat remains a commonality between them. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), body fat standards can differ based on age, gender, race, ethnicity and even activity level. However, to simplify the various body fat standards, ACSM¹ offers a simplified version as shown below.
(*The amountof body fat that is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions.)
1. Spring, T., Greenberg, V., Deleo, K., Caplan, M., & McGoff, S. (2012). Body Composition, Health Consequences and Nutritional Issues. In ACSM Certified Personal Trainer Study Guide (20052012 ed., p. 47). ELAN Publishing.