Body Composition Testing

What is body composition, and why is it important?

Your body is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrate and various vitamins and minerals. If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. That increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Obesity is recognized as a major risk factor for heart disease. If you’re overweight or obese you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off.

Our bodies do require essential fat because it serves as an important metabolic fuel for energy production and other normal bodily functions. Essential fat requirements are greater than 5% for men and greater than 8% for women. Normal body functions may be disrupted if body fat falls below the minimum level recommended for men (5%) and women (15%). Studies suggest that the body fat ranges for optimal health are 18%-30% for women and 10%-25% for men. Body fat percentages for optimal fitness and for athletes tend to be lower than optimal health values because excess fat may hinder physical performance and activity.

Your Body Composition can be divided into two components: lean (fat-free) mass and fat mass. Lean body mass represents the weight of your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and internal organs and is more dense than fat. Body fat consists of essential fat and storage fat. Essential fat is necessary for normal bodily functioning and is naturally higher in women. Storage fat is located around internal organs and directly beneath the skin (subcutaneous). It provides bodily protection and serves as an insulator to conserve body heat.

Body Composition information is obtained by a body impedance measurement. This is done by measuring with a small, safe electrical signal that is passed through the body, carried by water and fluids. Impedance (electrical resistance) is greatest in fat tissue, which contains only 10-20% water, while fat-free mass, which contains 70-75% water, allows the signal to pass much more easily. By using the impedance measurements along with a person’s height and weight, and body type (gender, age, fitness level), it is possible to calculate the percentage of body fat, fat-free mass, hydration level, and other body composition values.

The process is as simple as standing bare foot (no panty hose) on a highly specialized scale. Accuracy of the Body Composition measurement is dependant on hydration. We ask that you drink at least 2 full glasses of water 30 minutes before your appointment and not exercise 4 hours before your visit for best results.

Check Your BMI

The body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body weight based on a person’s weight and height. Though it does not actually measure the percentage of body fat as with the Body Composition Analysis that we do in the clinic, it is a rough estimate of healthy body weight based on a person’s height. For detailed information, including body fat measurement, visit our clinic for Body Composition testing.