Analyzing body composition can prevent serious diseases – calculate your body fat percentage
By: Dr Charles Fiscella | Published Thursday, December 20, 2012, 3:57 PM | Updated Thursday, December 20, 2012, 3:57 PM
|Calculate your body fat|
Too much body fat is a major contributor to chronic health problems such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and many pain syndromes. Determining how much fat (% body fat) as well as the areas of fat distribution (abdomen, hips, and thighs) can help determine risk factors related to these diseases.
Height and weight charts provide an inconclusive assessment of body composition. Even those who are of normal weight can still be over-fat. Many who have lost weight through dieting have unfortunately shed that weight by reducing water and muscle, leaving too much unhealthy fat tissue inside their body. People of normal weight can also have disease risks similar to those who are overtly overweight.
There are many contributing factors to an unhealthy body composition. Common causes include lack of physical activity and exercise, poor diets which include foods high in sugar and bad fats, excess alcohol, some medications (especially steroids), hormone imbalances and unhealthy stress.
Modern body composition analysis instruments can accurately determine the percentage of body fat and its location. Additionally, a complete body composition analysis will account for all of the body’s components, which when taken together, make up a person's total body weight.
The human body is composed of a variety of different substances including water, metabolically active lean tissues - such as muscles, bones, connective tissues, body organs, and fats. Body fat includes both essential and non-essential fat stores. Essential fat is vital for normal body function and can be found in organs and tissues such as nerves, lungs, liver, brain, and mammary glands. Essential fat is necessary for normal body function, while the non-essential fat serves no real purpose and is likely to contribute to disease. Non-essential fat is stored primarily within adipose tissue.
A thorough body composition analysis should include many measurements and calculations including the total body weight, abdominal circumference, hip circumference, the waist-to-hip ratio, the body mass index, the basal metabolic rate, the fat-free body mass, the percent body fat, the total body water, the intracellular water, the extracellular water, and the phase angle.
This information, along with other laboratory findings. can then be used as the basis for making important lifestyle changes for better health and longevity.