Woman have more body fat than men--about five percent more. By nature, a woman's body is developed to protect her and a potential fetus.
As a result, women have more enzymes for storing fat and fewer enzymes for burning fat. Additionally, the estrogen women have activates fat storing enzymes and causes them to multiply.
Women experience more changes in hydration levels than men because of their menstrual cycle, and this can affect body fat measuring, particularly using the BIA method. Retaining fluid may also cause weight to fluctuate day-to-day during this period causing additional variation in the body fat percentage.
Female users of BIA products should be aware of their natural monthly body cycles. To establish a baseline for monitoring body fat, many women find it useful to chart their readings every day for a month. Afterward, monitoring at regular intervals can anticipate monthly fluctuations.
Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause may also cause water retention and variations in measuring. Changes in hydration levels can also be due to food, caffeine or alcohol consumption, strenuous exercise, stress or illness, or the taking of prescription drugs.
To successfully monitor progress, women should remember to compare weight and body fat percentage measurements taken under the same conditions over a period of time. Pay attention to fluctuations caused by menstruation. And stay within the Women's--not the Men's--Healthy Body Fat Range!
Too Little Body Fat
It's possible to have too little body fat. Women athletes involved in high performance sports that emphasize low body weight and extremely low body fat percentage often experience a decrease in hormones that causes an interruption in the menstrual cycle. The same condition can occur when a woman is anorexic and her body goes into a semi-starvation mode. Over an extended period of time, this can lead to other health risks such as the loss of bone mass.
Too Much Body Fat
Obesity has become a serious health threat for women at every stage of life. Conditions that are attributable to overweight and that are female-specific include an increased incidence of breast cancer after menopause particularly for women taking hormone replacement therapy, and higher rates of endometrial cancer. Also associated with obesity are various birth defects, obstetric and gynecological complications, and infertility. In addition, obesity has been documented in connection with stress incontinence among women.