9 Body Composition Measurements and What They Mean
Whether your main focus is rocking a bikini at the beach or living to be 100, there is one important piece of information that may get in the way: body composition.
Most people are familiar with weight and other bodily statistics; but they often overlook composition as an important metric for monitoring health. A measurement of the ratio of fat mass versus lean tissue, including muscle, bone, ligaments, tendons, and other organs. A higher overall body percentage has been linked to an increased risk for common diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular risks.
Body fat isn’t the only concern, though. The distribution of body fat is an important factor too. A high level of fat in the abdominal area tends to increase one’s risk for heart disease and cancer compared to fat that is evenly distributed throughout the entire body.
So how is body composition measured? A quick Google search will reveal a number of different ways to measure body mass and composition. At any rate, these 9 indicators are some of the most important factors to consider.
Weight is an overall measure of your body mass. This measurement includes all of the elements of your body – bones, blood, organs, muscles, and fat. A number of different factors contribute to your weight, including hereditary components, hormonal abnormalities, exercise, diet, and lifestyle. Even so, measuring body weight is a pretty straightforward calculation, usually made using a scale. Being underweight or overweight can significantly impact your physical and psychological wellbeing, so it is an important component in considering your overall health and wellness.
2. Body Fat
A component of the body that most “dieters” want to get rid of, body fat is actually an important component of the body for overall health. More technically known as adipose tissue, body fat is a spongy tissue that is stored in the bones, organs, central nervous system, and muscles. The amount needed in the body is different for men and women. Generally speaking, men should have at least 2 to 5 percent body fat while healthy women need anywhere from 10 to 13 percent for essential bodily functions. The excess fat in the body is known as nonessential fat and is where excess energy is stored. There are different ways to estimate or measure body fat, but one of the most effective calculations is to measure body fat by percentage.
Your BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a measurement of your weight versus your height. Your BMI is an important factor in considering overall health, as it can be an indicator of high overall body fat. This calculation can also be used to screen for specific health conditions that may be related to disproportionate weight. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by your height.
4. Body Water
Body water is an important physiological measure that can significantly impact overall health. This factor is a measure of the water content in the various tissues, blood, bones, and other components of your body. This water contributes significantly to the human body both in terms of weight and volume. Maintaining the right amount of water in your body is part of fluid balance and homeostasis. The average adult male is approximately 70 percent water; however, most adults fall somewhere below 65 percent. A body fat scale is one of the only ways to estimate your total body water percentage at home.
5. Lean Mass
Your lean body mass is a calculation of the amount of weight your body carries that isn’t fat. Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts often focus on dropping weight while maintaining lean body mass; however, it can also present important information about your overall health. To measure your lean body mass, you must first identify your overall body fat percentage.
6. Visceral Fat Rating
Visceral fat is an extremely important calculation that present information regarding your overall health and your potential to develop a number of alarming health conditions. Visceral fat can be described as the body fat that surrounds the waist. It is stored deep under the skin and is generally wrapped around major organs, such as your liver, pancreas, and kidneys. This is an important component of your body, as it ensures there is appropriate distance between each organ. But too much visceral fat creates too much space and can lead to an increase in blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack. Visceral fat can be calculated by measuring the largest parts around your waist and hips.
7. Muscle Mass
Muscle mass is a key measurement of the muscles in your body in pounds or kilograms. This measure plays an important role in your overall fitness, as muscles burn energy and fat all the time. As your muscles mass increases. Your body is able to burn calories or energy faster, which has the effect of increasing weight loss. Muscle mass includes the measurement of the smooth and skeletal muscles as well as water in the body.
8. Bone Mass
Bone mass is a measurement of the overall bone mineral density of your body. This measure provides an important snapshot of your overall bone health. Low bone density can be a key indicator of osteoporosis.
9. Daily Caloric Intake
Your caloric intake is a combination of all of the food you take in each day. Calories are used to measure the energy content of food and beverages. In order to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body needs for energy each day and vice versa.
Keeping track of each one of those measures can be quite a task, especially as you are using it to monitor your overall health. Thankfully, though, the iHealth Core Body Composition Scale can do it all for you. This scale measures and tracks these nine aspects of your body composition with medical-grade accuracy. Instead of just getting a measure of your weight and a limited view of your health, you have an accurate snapshot of your overall health.