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Don’t Overlook Your Body Fat Composition

Don’t Overlook Your Body Fat Composition

Your body is your temple… so goes the old saying. What you put into it you generally will get out. This holds true for any type of food and beverage that you consume, all which can play a role – alongside your chosen lifestyle – in your overall well-being and longevity.

According to Roxana Rhodes, MD: “A healthy body composition is one that includes a lower percentage of body fat and a higher percentage of non-fat mass, which includes muscle, bones, and organs. Knowing your body composition can help you assess your health and fitness level.”

Leading experts say that both BMI and body fat composition play a role in overall well-being.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted, in a body fat and BMI study, that: “Many studies have related BMI to disease risk. What we did was correlate body fat percentage to BMI, allowing us to take the first big step toward linking body fat percentage to disease risk. This new research reveals the value of assessing body fat more directly using the latest scientific technology to measure body fat percentage.”

Understanding what your actual body fat composition is can be tricky. That’s because a standard scale just spits out a number that you weigh and doesn’t account for things like muscle, fat and bone, liquid or added weight from food and beverage or water retention. Further, using the Body Mass Index measurement tool just gives you a rough idea.

A more effective and well-rounded method involves using both BMI and body fat measurement. This mantra better assesses your current and future risk factors while working alongside your health and fitness professionals to make improvements and maintain good health over time.

It starts with understanding how your body fat composition, metabolism and BMI are interrelated, so you can start making small changes to your lifestyle and fitness regimen for optimal wellness.

Here are some important things to know along the way.

Balance is The Key

To achieve a healthy BMI and body fat composition, balance is the key. This includes balancing your food and water intake, limiting alcohol usage and keeping an active lifestyle. Doing so helps us maintain the status quo and meet as well as nurture our desired body fat composition goals over time as we age.

As your body ages, your metabolism and hormones also change. In theory, someone can maintain the same BMI as they get older, yet have a higher body fat composition due to a slower metabolism combined with changes in hormones and the aging process.

What is BMI & How is it Used?

Many healthcare facilities rely on the Body Max Index (BMI) as one of the measurement tools they use to help educate patients. BMI is used to provide a better assessment of whether you are underweight, overweight or average, as compared to the rest of society.

The BMI scale was invented by a Belgian mathematician named Adolphe Quetelet, and was originally called the Quetelet Scale. Of importance, Quetelet inferred that using BMI was to assess the health of an entire population…. and not necessarily individuals.

You might be wondering: How do I know my BMI? To determine the BMI of an individual, a simple mathematical formulation is used.

It looks like this: BMI = weight (kg) / height (m2)

BMI charts use these standard classifications to assess weight ranges:

BMI range Classification Risk of poor health
less than 18.5 underweight high
18.5–24.9 normal weight low
25.0–29.9 overweight low to moderate
30.0–34.9 obese class I (moderately obese) high
35.0–39.9 obese class II (severely obese) very high
40 or greater obese class III (extremely obese) extremely high

It’s important to keep in mind that BMI is an assessment tool that can be used to aid healthcare providers in weight baseline assessments on individuals. It’s not a tool that’s used to determine overall health or accurate body fat measurements. But the calculations may indicate that a person has certain risk factors.

BMI can help us better understand how being overweight or obese increases certain health risk factors. Back in 2017, a related study of more than 100,000 deaths determined that individuals who had a BMI of 30 or greater had a significantly greater risk of premature death than those who had a healthy BMI score. Similar research further concluded that persons whose BMI classified them as severely under or overweight had a decreased longevity of 3-7 years.

It’s important to understand that BMI is just one tool that can be used to help improve your quality of life by aiding in assessing risk factors and how they relate to your weight. Additionally, BMI is a yes or no tool that doesn’t add veritable background factors to each individual and their lifestyle, including elements like age, medical history, genetics, lifestyle habits and others.

This is why BMI is just one of many methods that healthcare professionals use alongside others that measure things like blood health, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, inflammation, heart rate, medical history and others. That being said, BMI can be useful, and it is a very popular method of averaging your body weight composition and how it compares to the national average.

Using Body Fat Measurement

A more accurate tool that you can use or combine with BMI is something called Body Fat Measurement. Although not as accurate as body fat percentage assessments that you could get from a professional, it’s a helpful tool that many fitness providers use with their clients to help them better understand their current state, and to gain a visual representation of their progress as they work towards their targeted goals.

How to measure your bodyfat:

To do this you will require a simple tape measure and some privacy. You will need to know what your height is in inches when calculating body fat composition.

For men: measure the circumference of your abdomen and your neck, relying on the largest part of each area. Subtract the value of your neck’s measurements from your abdomen to gain circumference value.

For women: measure the circumference of your neck, hips and waist using the widest portions. To determine your body fat percent, add the measurements of your waist and hips and then subtract the measurements you took from your neck.

Consider using a body fat composition calculator. A variety of online tools and smartphone apps exist that let you simply enter the numbers from your measurements into an online calculator. Bear in mind that the more accurate your measurements are, the more accurate your body fat composition calculation will be.

Make the Most of Your Fitness Journey

At Modo Bio, we put you and your health data in direct contact with a curated team of health and fitness partners focused on training you to be great at being healthy and fit.

You’ll work hand-in-hand with our partners as you hone your skills for healthy living and take proactive measures to preserve your well-being now and into the future. Join the Waitlist Here.

Modo Bio connects you, your wearable device and a dedicated health team on one platform. Our providers help you use your data to accomplish your goals and your friends and family keep you motivated.

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Get our free guides so you can start building an actionable health plan based on YOUR data.