Body Fat Distribution in Men and Women

Contrary to popular belief, fat isn't a negative thing. In fact, it has many purposes that are vital for the correct functioning of the body. However, you must be aware of how much of it you have, because too much can be deadly.
Body Fat Distribution in Men and Women

Last update: 12 February, 2021

A lot of individuals have come to hate the word “fat” and everything associated with it. For that reason, experts have created different alternatives to reduce the presence of fat in the body. However, many people ignore learning about body fat distribution and how it differs between men and women. This surely is a great topic to analyze?
Firstly, body fat shouldn’t be considered as something negative since it fulfills several vital functions. However, it is necessary to understand that what’s actually bad about this are the high percentages (those above the normal rates).
Believe it or not, high levels of body fat can affect the proper functioning of the body. In this article, we’ll be talking about body fat distribution in men and women and how this whole system works. Keep reading!

How is fat distributed in the body?

Generally speaking, body fat has two main components: essential fat and reserve fat. Now, both fulfill relevant functions within the body. However, they’re found in different percentages. Let’s see.

Essential fat

This type of fat is found in small percentages within the body. However, it’s harbored in cell membranes, brain tissue, bone marrow, and around some organs. In addition, it performs insulating and protective functions.
On the other hand, it’s important to mention that women tend to have a higher percentage of essential fat than men. In fact, a study published on the Revista Médica de Chile stated something striking. Basically, this fat is so essential that it even plays a fundamental role in the hormonal changes of the human being.

Reserve fat

As the name suggests, this type of fat works as an energy reserve for the body. We can find it under the skin, in fact, the other name it receives is subcutaneous fat.
Its main function is to provide energy when the body doesn’t have enough. It’s normally used in conditions of extreme cold or hunger.
A man with abdominal fat.

Types of body fat distribution

The distribution of body fat depends on different aspects. For example, the person’s gender, age, and genetic predisposition. This doesn’t work as a rule – no two people have the same body fat percentage. For that reason, if you want to know its exact distribution in your body, seek medical advice.
When it comes to the appearance that this fat distribution generates in a person, we can find two different types of distribution: the android and the gynaecoid.

The android or apple type

In this distribution type, fat is stored mainly in the abdominal area. This, of course, poses a greater risk to the individual’s health. Despite being a type of disposition present in a large part of the population, men are the ones who identify most with the apple-type body.
The chances of suffering from a metabolic problem are much higher with this type as fat stays close to the visceral organs. In addition, it can stimulate conditions such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes. These types of problems increase if the amount of abdominal fat is greater than the normal rates a person should have.

The gynaecoid or pear type

Now, body fat in the gynaecoid type tends to accumulate in the periphery of the body (in the buttocks and legs, to be more specific).
The pear-like type of body is much more common in women. Although the localization of fat in this type is less dangerous than in the android type, it’s still quite bothersome for most people. This is because the fat in these areas is less active, which means that burning it is very complicated and taxing.
Although both types of body fat distribution have specific characteristics, this isn’t a straight rule. In other words, it’s possible for a woman to have an apple-like body and for a man to have a pear-like body type. Remember that genetic predisposition plays a fundamental role in this regard.
A woman grabbing her tighs.

Do you want to know your body fat distribution?

If you want to know your body fat distribution, consult your doctor or nutritionist – they’re the ones who’ll be able to figure it out for you. Tell them that you’re interested in learning your body’s fat percentage and in what way it could influence your body.
Electrical bioimpedance works primarily to determine, above all, body fat distribution. In addition to this, your doctor may also use alternatives belonging to anthropometry to corroborate this. For both options, you must turn to a professional in the area of ​​health, nutrition, or sports training.
Finally, try to do physical activity regularly and keep a balanced diet to avoid any problems regarding body fat. In this way, you’ll notice great benefits both on an aesthetic and a health level.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cardozo, L., Cuervo Guzman, Y., & Murcia Torres, J. (2016). Porcentaje de grasa corporal y prevalencia de sobrepeso – obesidad en estudiantes universitarios de rendimiento deportivo de Bogotá, Colombia. Nutrición Clínica y Dietética Hospitalaria.
  • Leroux, M. B. (2009). Tejido adiposo. Arch. Argent. Dermatol.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.