See what you are MADE OF and learn why BMI is NOT a good indicator of overall health!
By: Danny Osias and Russell Graham
We are proud to announce that the Fitness Center now has an InBody H20N machine that is not like a common scale. The InBody H20N measures body fat, skeletal muscle, and basal metabolic rate. A regular scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Most of us know our weight. But do you know your current whole-body composition and body fat percentage? Many of us have been taught to use just our weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine our health status. This can be a flawed system and here’s why.
Body mass index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI was an inexpensive and easy, but somewhat arbitrary screening method developed to sharply distinguish weight categories: underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obesity. Despite the widespread use of BMI in clinical practice (and insurance companies) it has many limitations and is a poor tracking tool for health assessment because there’s no way to separate weight into fat, muscle, bone or water. It was developed over 200 years ago by a mathematician, not a scientist or medical practitioner. Additionally, it was used on Caucasian men, and didn’t take into account age, gender, ethnic and racial factors. Predicting health or mortality using a single number such as BMI oversimplifies health and ignores important factors that contribute to optimal health. Bone is denser (heavier) than muscle, which is denser (heavier) than fat. Two people at the same height and weight, with the same BMI, can have very different body types. For example, two people who are each 5’5” and 155 lbs have the same BMI. But one person may have stronger bones, more muscle and less visceral fat, may even be an elite athlete, and should be considered healthy and the other person may have more body fat and less muscle, and thus would be at more risk for health problems. According to a BMI chart, with a score of 25.8 they would both be considered “overweight” with certain risk factors. This would not be a fair assessment for the healthy, in-shape individual. Body composition and other factors (for example waist to hip ratio, endurance, agility, strength and flexibility tests) are much more important.
So what IS important to measure on a “scale”? What is body composition and why is it important? Body composition is used by health professionals to evaluate a person’s weight by breaking it down into its core components: fat, muscle mass (protein) bone (minerals) and water. It describes your healthy weight more accurately by providing a better glimpse into your overall health. Body composition analysis can accurately show changes in fat mass, lean muscle mass, and body fat percentage which can point to the areas you need to work on, and where specifically you have made improvements.
Along with these components the InBody H20N scale also measures Basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the number of calories you burn as your body performs basic (basal) life-sustaining function (commonly also termed as Resting Metabolic Rate, RMR, which is the calories burned if you stayed in bed all day.) The InBody scale measures all these biological elements through Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), which sends a painless, low-level electrical current through the body. The device has two points of contact at the feet and hands. It is considered safe for most individuals, but there are some precautions. The device should not be used by anyone with an electronic medical implant, such as a heart pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Also, most device makers recommend that the products not be used by pregnant women.
Many people come through the doors of the fitness center looking to lose weight and/or gain muscle. Now we can accurately assess where improvements are needed, and where improvements have been made, to better assist our members! Come on in and ask a trainer for a quick and easy body composition reading!