What is Body Composition Analysis?
It is important for people to know if they have too much, or even too little fat. The normal, healthy range of body fat is 18-30% for women and 15-25% for men. Too little can result in the body’s inability to store essential vitamins. Also there could be insufficient padding to protect vital organs. Too much fat can cause a myriad of medical situations, including cardio-vascular problems.
In order to measure the amount of fat in the body, there are several methods available. The traditional one, requiring minimal equipment but maximum experience is a skin caliper test. The doctor uses a pair of calipers to take measurements from different parts of your body, including biceps, calf, lower back, etc. These results are then translated, by means of a formula, to know your fat percentage.
Another very common method these days, often used by insurance companies, employers etc. is to measure your BMI, Body Mass Index. This is the relationship between your height and weight, converted by another formula. There are a couple of other methods too; more complex and using more sophisticated equipment. One is based on the concept that fat is less dense in water. This test is considered the most accurate as it compares a person’s weight on land to their weight in water. Of course, this requires complex equipment and cannot normally be done in a doctor’s office.
Finally there is a test based on the relative conductivity of fat and lean body tissue. This one can be done fully clothed, which is more comfortable for some people, but it requires expensive equipment.