Although the technology is improving, it’s difficult to get an accurate body fat measurement from most commercially available body fat analyzers. That’s why it is important to select the best model available. Various types of body fat analyzers — also called impedance meters — are available to the general public. Results from portable body fat analyzers can vary depending on many factors which includes the quality of the device and how hydrated you are when the measurement is taken.
Body fat can also be estimated using cross-sectional imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT). These scans can provide the most precise body composition measurements, especially for intra-abdominal fat measurement.
They are expensive, however, and are usually not indicated solely for measuring body fat. Imaging tests such as ultrasound may also be used to measure body composition. Other methods to assess body fat are being studied. Depending on the information desired, you and your doctor can determine the optimal type of body fat measurement. Keep in mind that specific body fat measurement techniques can be expensive and may not be available in all locations. Depending on the circumstances, options may include:
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. This is a specialized X-ray exam that provides detailed information about the ratio between fat, muscle and bones in specific parts of your body.
Air displacement plethysmography. With this technique, you’re enclosed in a computerized, egg-shaped chamber (Bod Pod, others). The device measures your weight and volume to determine your body density, and then uses these figures to calculate your percentage of body fat.
Underwater weighing. Also known as hydrodensitometry, this method involves sitting on a special chair submerged under water. Your underwater weight or body density is then used to calculate your percentage of body fat.
What is Body fat?
Body fat is the amount of fat that you have in your body. Men, women and children carry different body fat percentages. A competition caliber male body builder who is minimizing body fat percentage could have a percentage down as low as 3-4 percent, while a competition female body builder would only go as low as 8-9 percent. Having a lower body fat percentage does not necessarily mean that the individual is healthier, but it does indicate that the person has a leaner body composition.
A hand held body fat caliper is a device used to measure subcutaneous fat. Body size and skinfold thickness is used in a formula to determine body fat percentage. The most common equation for skinfold measurement was created for adult females and males by Jackson and Pollock. They are most commonly used for people who have the average amount of body fat. This formula tends to be less correct with the super skinny, morbidly obese, or the young or elderly. Another equation has been introduced for the rest of the population. Some overweight individuals may find it more convenient to purchase a larger weight scale to measure their progress. The DEXA (duel-energy X-ray absorptiometry) will give the best estimate of lean body mass distribution, body composition and fat level in in the entire body. It will give a detailed overview of regional bone density, fat mass and lean body mass. One down side to the process is that it is very expensive to get done.
A lot of people go for commercially available Body Fat Analyzers. They come in two types: Hand held, and the ones in which a person steps on them. A painless electric current is sent through the body to give a reading. Such body fat analyzers are easy to use and are perfect for the general public to use in order to keep track of their health goals. Just make sure that you buy a good model.