Body Composition

Body composition is the percentage of a body’s weight that is fat tissue

Body composition is the body’s amount of fat relative to fat-free mass.  Individuals with optimal body composition are typically healthier, move more easily and efficiently, and generally feel better. Although a certain amount of body fat is needed to insure good health, excess body fat has been found to dramatically increase the risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Monitoring body weight alone can be misleading, because a scale can’t tell the difference between a pound of fat and a pound of muscle. Sedentary people may gain fat and lose muscle without any noticeable change in their weight. Conversely, individuals who exercise may not experience a large change in weight, yet their muscle mass is likely increasing at the same time as they are also losing body fat. A body composition analysis reveals these important shifts in body composition that a scale cannot. Your results will be discussed with you. This test is particularly helpful when used to establish a baseline and then periodically after starting or tweaking an exercise program or making dietary changes.

In the exercise, lab, we use the BOD POD GS, which measures body composition using Air Displacement Plethysmography. Here, body composition is derived from body density, or Densitometry. In densitometry, the more dense a body is, the lower the percentage of body fat (as fat free tissue is more dense than fat); the less dense a body is, the higher the percentage of body fat (Density = Mass/Volume).

Watch a video of measuring body composition