Body Composition Test
What is body composition test?
The body composition test gives you valuable information about how much of your weight is made up of fat, muscle, water, and bone. Your body weight on the other hand provides a single, combined measurement without differentiating the different types of tissues. Individuals trying to lose weight for example, would benefit from knowing that they are maximizing fat loss and protecting muscle. Athletes on the other hand would benefit by knowing that their muscle bulking strategy is actually going towards building muscle and not fat. Individuals with health problems such as kidney, heart, cancer, and other diseases will find it helpful to know their hydration and muscle levels.
How do we measure body composition?
One simple, and reliable method is the BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) using a special BIA medical instrument. It is a proven scientific method based on the principle that muscle, fat, and water respond differently to a small electric impulse. Proper test preparation is necessary to give reliable results.
Electrodes are attached to specific areas on your wrist and ankle. A small electric impulse which you will not feel (in the same way when you have your heart ECG test) will produce different responses from your muscle, fat and water measuring your body composition.
Studies show that BIA test using proper equipment correlates with a high degree of accuracy and reliability with under water, gold standard test but without its high costs and inconveniences.
No radiation is involved. The test is safe and painless, and takes a few minutes.
What can I expect on my body composition report?
Your report will show levels of:
- Lean body mass that includes muscle, bone
- Hydration – total body water and how much of this water is inside and outside your cells
- Basal metabolic rate estimate
- Daily energy expenditure
Your test will include interpretation and discussion of your report with our Registered Dietitian
Why is it important to know your body composition?
Body mass index (BMI), usually used by health professionals to evaluate weight status does not give any information about your muscle, fat, and hydration status. Many fit individuals, athletes, and those working in physically demanding vocations exceed their target of BMI and may be considered overweight when in fact they are not overweight or over-fat according to body composition . On the other hand, individuals within the target BMI can be over-fat.
After age 30, we gradually lose about 1-3% muscle mass per decade. Also, as we get older we lose about 1-2% bone mass per decade unless we take preventive action. So if you weighed 60 kg in your 20’s and exactly the same when you are in your 40’s, your weight will be more fat and less muscle and bone. Periodic tests will help you stay on top of your wellness routine to ensure it is working well for you in protecting your muscle and bone health. It is a tool that can provide useful information on the risks and status of your health as you progress through different stages of your life. It will encourage you to incorporate strategies to protect your muscle levels.
Hydration, which we often neglect is very important also, in determining our health. When we are dehydrated or if the fluid is not properly balanced inside and outside our cells, it will influence our energy, our ability to get important nutrients to our tissues, and hamper the ability of our body to clear toxins.
How is body composition linked to health and how can I use this information to help me?
High levels of body fat are linked to increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Where in your body you carry the fat also alters your risks. For example, more fat around your belly increases your risk of chronic disease. On the other hand, not carrying enough fat, called essential fat also puts you at risk for nerve, brain, hormone, and other essential roles in the body. As we age, loss of bone puts us at increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Fluid balance will give you important clues about your health. Dehydration or over-hydration will influence your energy, health, wellness and performance.
Knowing your body composition does not do anything UNLESS you ACT on this information to protect your muscle, bone, and proper hydration to guard your health.
Can you compare skinfold fat test results with BIA Body composition ?
No. They are two different tests and measure different things. Skinfold test with calipers gives you a measure of the fat under your skin and does not give your fat level through out your body. BIA body composition measures your overall fat in the body including the fat under your skin and around body tissues.
Who can benefit from body composition tests?
Everyone can benefit by knowing, tracking, and acting early on this type of invaluable personalised professional assessment. Some uses may include:
- Everyone interested in health, wellness, fitness, and illness prevention
- Athletes and sport professionals to gauge effect of training on muscle, fat, and hydration
- Weight loss and weight gain programs to track fat, muscle, hydration
- Body builders
- Tracking changes in weight components in disease such as heart, kidney, cancer
- All ages
- Note: BIA testing cannot be performed on you if you are pregnant or have a pacemaker.