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Originally published November 11 2005

Healthcare technologies abound for measuring body fat

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

MSNBC informs consumers about the various technologies now employed in measuring body mass index (BMI) and body fat, measures which doctors now use to predict a wide range of diseases and health conditions.

Since the health risks of being overweight are mostly related to excess fat, many people think they should check how much body fat they have. Technology to estimate body fat levels has now become readily available. Excess weight from body fat can damage knees and hips. It also produces hormonal and metabolic changes that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and several forms of cancer. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Body Mass Index, known as BMI, is a way of expressing weight that can predict a person's risk for all of these diseases. BMI is a good tool for most adults, but it can encourage people with more muscle or heavy bones to lose weight unnecessarily. There is general agreement that the BMI ranges for normal, underweight, overweight and obese weight categories are accurate. Health experts emphasize that any body fat standards should allow for wide differences in inherited body types and changes that may be normal as we age. Athletes have slightly lower ranges, but going below 5 percent fat in men, or 16 percent fat in women, poses health risks and doesn't increase performance. Measuring systems A special tank that weighs a person underwater or a special X-ray test known as DEXA are considered the best tools for measuring body fat. But now special scales are available that measure your weight and also estimate your percent of body fat based on Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). Based on the amount of resistance and other personal information, the scale calculates an estimate of your body fat percentage. Since the scale's readings are based on standardized calculations, people who exercise even a few hours a week should get a model with an "athlete" mode that uses an adjusted calculation.

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