Body Fat Monitors - What You Need to Know
Body Composition Monitors not only measure body fat, they also measure a whole raft of other body and health related factors. This article aims to explain a few of these measurements.
WHAT IS BODY FAT PERCENTAGE?
Body fat percentage is the amount of body fat as a proportion of your body weight. Reducing excess levels of body fat has shown to reduce the risk of certain conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The chart below shows the healthy ranges of body fat.
WHAT IS TOTAL BODY WATER PERCENTAGE?
Total body water percentage is the total amount of fluid in a person's body expressed as a percentage of their total weight. Water plays a vital role in many of the body's processes and is found in every cell, tissue and organ. Maintaining a healthy total body water percentage will ensure the body functions efficiently and will reduce the risk of developing associated health problems.
Your body water levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day and night. Your body tends to be dehydrated after a long night and there are differences in fluid distribution between day and night. Eating large meals, drinking alcohol, menstruation, illness, exercising and bathing may cause variations in your hydration levels.
Every individual varies but as a guide the average total body water percentage ranges for a healthy adult are: Female - 45 to 60%, Male - 50 to 65% (Tanita)
WHAT IS VISCERAL FAT RATING?
This indicates the rating of visceral fat in your body. Visceral fat is the fat that is in the internal abdominal cavity, surrounding the vital organs in the trunk (abdominal) area. Research shows that even if your weight and body fat remains constant, as you get older the distribution of fat changes and is more likely to shift to the trunk area especially post menopause. Ensuring you have healthy levels of visceral fat may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and the onset of type 2 diabetes.
WHAT IS BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR)?
Your Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum level of energy your body needs when at rest to function effectively including your respiratory and circulatory organs, neural system, liver, kidneys and other organs. You burn calories when sleeping.
About 70% of calories consumed every day are used for your basal metabolism. In addition, energy is used when doing any kind of activity however; the more vigorous the activity is the more calories are burned. This is because skeletal muscle (which accounts for approximately 40% of your body weight) acts as your metabolic engine and uses a large amount of energy. Your basal metabolism is greatly affected by the quantity of muscles you have, therefore increasing muscle mass will help increase your basal metabolism.
WHAT IS MUSCLE MASS?
This indicates the weigh of muscle in your body. This includes the skeletal muscles, smooth muscles (such as cardiac and digestive muscles) and the water contained in these muscles. Muscles play an important role as they act as an engine in consuming energy. As your muscle mass increases, your energy consumption increases helping to reduce excess body fat levels and lose weight in a healthy way.
WHAT IS BONE MASS?
This indicates the amount of bone (bone mineral level, calcium or other minerals) in your body. Research has shown that exercise and the development of muscle tissue are related to stronger, healthier bones. While bone structure is unlikely to make noticeable changes in a short period, it is important that you develop and maintain healthy bones by having a balanced diet and plenty of exercise.
Below is the result of estimated bone masses of persons aged 20 to 40, who are said to have the largest amounts of bone mass, by weight (Source: Tanita Body Weight Science Institute)
If you have any questions about any of these measurements, please consult your GP.