HealthWorks! Healthy Living Series: Body Composition
by The Center for Better Health and Nutrition/HealthWorks! at Cincinnati Children’s
Chris Kist, Exercise Program Director: We have all heard the term Body composition but what does it mean?
Body composition is a method of describing what the body is made of. It includes fat, muscle, bone and body water. It also describes body weight more accurately than a BMI calculation.
Body composition analysis can accurately show changes in fat mass, muscle mass, and percent body fat.
Two people with the same body weight may look completely different from each other because they have a different body composition.
For example, many athletes that have a lot of muscle mass typically have a high BMI but a lower percentage of body fat.
So, by measuring body composition, it gives us a better idea of what’s happening on the inside even, when we might not be seeing significant changes on the scale.
We use a method called BIA or Bio Electrical Impedance Analysis. This non-invasive test simply involves holding onto two electrodes on the person’s hand and standing on two electrodes with bare feet.
A low level of electrical current is sent through the body. The device measures how this signal is impeded through different types of tissue.
The BIA determines the resistance to flow as it passes through the body and provides estimations of body fat using equations.
By doing this, you get a printout that tells you what’s happening on the inside that gives us a better idea on how you are progressing.
A healthy body composition is one that includes a lower percentage of body fat and a higher percentage of fat-free mass or muscle.
The more muscle we have, the better off we are, because this tends to speed up our metabolism and help keep excess weight off.
The specific body composition ranges vary for different patients.
At your visit, your medical provider will discuss your results and recommendations based on your child’s age and gender.
Having too much body fat is a health concern. A high percent of body fat may increase both cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and is a precursor to heart disease.
Excess body fat may also cause joint and bone problems, sleep apnea and elevated blood sugar.
So what do we do about it? I wish I could tell you I had a quick, easy fix. But the most effective way to decrease your percentage of body fat and increase your muscle mass is to eat right and exercise regularly.
Changes typically occur slowly over time by incorporating a healthy lifestyle.
The recommended guidelines for exercise are 60 minutes or more of Moderate to Vigorous physical activity each day.
By doing this and eating a healthy, balanced diet, over time, we tend to see many improvements, including a decrease in body fat.”
The funding for these videos was in part provided by Master Han and the Han’s White Tiger Tae Kwon Do Annual Break-A-Thon. Thank you!