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Reference Guide to Body Composition

An In-Depth Look at Body Fat, BMI and More


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  • Interesting article and very complete in describing all the methods. Seemed fair and balanced.
  • Great Information...............Thank You.
  • thanks for this information!
  • I knew that there were a few different ways to determine your body composition, but I didn't know about a few of them.
  • A great refresher on body composition.
  • SHAHAI16
    Out of these methods, I've tried all but the hydrostatic one (technically tried calipers, but I'm one of those "hard to pinch" people). I seem to get a large range of results. My BMI is 36.6 so I'm apparently really obese, but my waist-to-hip ratio is .804 (under .8 being ideal). Bioimpedance (handheld) testing puts me at 35% body fat. I've also tried some body fat calculators where you enter your measurements, and depending on what measurements are used, I've gotten results anywhere from 28-50%! was the 28%, and it asked for gender, waist, hip, wrist, and forearm measurements. I want to look into the bod pod but first need to find one.
  • Clearly by your inaccurate explanation of the bioelectric impedance method you have no idea how it really works.
    Handheld bioimpedance machines measure fat in the upper body, scales measure fat in the lower body, both miss the midsection. So if I can balance on my scale with one foot on one side, and one hand on the other, will I get a more accurate reading? :)

    One of these days I'm going to have to actually try that - when nobody is home to see it!
  • This and related articles are fine as far as they go. But they are dated and do not go far enough. For example, the World Health Organization recommends an optimal BMI range for HEALTH AND LONGEVITY of 22-18.5 which is based on thorough statistical analysis of mortality and medical cost records.

    This article offers no reasons for targeting any specific body composition. After all, without a target, why consider body composition at all? Additionally, it misses the best body composition method: MRI which is the most accurate and detailed and provides pictures of exactly where body fat is located. Fat location has important health and longevity implications because visceral adipose tissue is a marker for a number of potentially fatal diseases.

    This article needs to be updated.
  • This is the best explanation of accurate weight calculations, including BMI, that I have seen in some time. Although it does not account for "shrinkage" as we age (therefore, height and weight may be inaccurate, since the appearance of "body fat" may be in the midsection due to spinal compression), it clearly details the different methods for calculation of accurate weight for height and body habitus. Thank you.
  • Now THIS is a thorough discussion of the benefits and problems with various ways to estimate % body fat:

    Interesting that unlike other sources I've read he concludes that DXA is about the same accuracy as hydrostatic weighing.
  • Bod Pod is like underwater weighing but less accurate due to the difference in density between water and air. It has all the same sources of error and then some. It's better than no measurement. But circumference measurements are probably better tracking than anything but DXA for most people.
  • You really need to update this article to include a reference to DXA body composition scans.

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