What is Body Composition?
Body composition is a method of describing what the body is made of. It includes fat, protein, minerals and body water. It also describes weight more accurately than BMI. Body composition analysis can accurately show changes in fat mass, muscle mass, and body fat percentage. This can help validate services like personal training, patient care, and corporate wellness.
Body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone, water, and muscle in human bodies. Two people of same sex and body weight may look completely different from each other because they have a different body composition.
Body composition and growth are key components of health in both individuals and populations. The ongoing epidemic of obesity in children and adults has highlighted the importance of understanding body fat levels for short-term and long-term health. However, other components of body composition also influence health outcomes, and its measurement is increasingly valuable in clinical practice.
Understanding the differences between thinness, leanness, overweight, and obesity is important for health practitioners to:
Develop complete physical fitness profiles for clients
Monitor body fat loss and muscle growth due to exercise/diet
Describe changes due to growth, development, maturation, and aging
Provide baseline data for nutrition counselling and treatment of obesity
How are you measuring health?
BMI is an outdated method
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common method used to assess the health of an individual by comparing the amount of weight they carry to the height of the individual. In its most basic sense, BMI may be useful for identifying those who are at an increased health risk as a result of excess fat accumulation.
Despite the widespread use of BMI in clinical practice, BMI has many limitations and is a poor tracking tool for weight change because there’s no way to identify if changes in your weight are in fat or muscle. That’s because BMI is calculated simply by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height: BMI = kg/m2
Predicting health or mortality using a single number such as BMI oversimplifies health risks and ignores important factors that contribute to positive health.
Newer technologies are able to separate body weight into specific components that can be examined separately, like DSM-BIA.
Focus on body fat percentage instead
As you move away from BMI, you should focus on the percentage of body fat you have at your weight. At InBody, we call this PBF (percent body fat).
There is no consensus on what the best body fat level for health (the amount of fat storage that maximizes health by minimizing risk for adverse health states/conditions) is for the general population.
The normal body fat range provided by InBody is set at 10-20% for males (15% as ideal) and 18-28% for females (23% as ideal).