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August 31st, 2007

Most people frequently weigh themselves to determine body fat, it’s assumed the heavier the person the fatter they are. This is a misconception.

Body weight is an important measure and a useful source of information, but it does not provide us with detailed understanding necessary for better health. A person with excessive fat can weigh the same as someone who is considerably leaner.

So, what can you do to assess how much of your body is fat and how much is lean body mass? The answer is simple - your body composition.

Body composition is a breakdown of your weight, expressed in terms of its actual make up. That is, how much is fat and how much is lean tissue (bones, muscles, water, tissue and organs). It’s this balance and understanding that’s essential information to your health. This is why regular body composition tests are important.

How can you assess your body composition?
There are basically three ways in which you can measure body fat. These are:

Hydrostatic Weighing Tanks
This method is regarded as the most accurate but also the most uncomfortable and perhaps impractical. It uses the Archimedes’ principle of displacement and involves being weighed underwater as well as on land. This method is normally only used by laboratories for research purposes.

Skinfold Measurement
The method is based on the understanding that superficial deposits of fat at various sites (measured by Skinfold calipers) correlate with total body fat. This method requires the assistance of a trained health professional and some people regard it as too invasive.

Bio-electrical Impedance
Bio-electrical impedance devices are low cost, portable, non-invasive and non-intrusive instruments which are used to assess body composition.
They measure the body’s resistance to a harmless current which is passed through the body. Formulae are then used to convert the impedance reading into measures of body composition that can be easily read and understood.

Most Bio-electrical impedance devices provide a quick analysis of your body composition that includes Body Fat % and weight.

At fitness-etc we recommend that you monitor your body composition on a regular basis to keep you motivated and help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Source: Maltron International Ltd

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