Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis for better body fat screening
Prolonged working hours, consumption of junk food, lack of balanced diet has been the chief cause leading to fat accumulation among working people who are mostly confined to desk job and computers. Above all, getting a reliable method to check the body fat is yet another big task. Among all the available techniques for measuring body fats, Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) has been one of the most reliable and accessible methods for screening body fat.
In conventional method of body fat screening, the person’s weighed, height, age, gender were taken into consideration. However using BIA, while the person is lying down, electrodes are attached to various parts of the body and a small electric signal is circulated. BIA then measures the impedance or resistance to the signal as it travels through the water that is found in muscle and fat. The more muscle a person has, the more water their body can hold. The greater the amount of water in a person’s body, the easier it is for the current to pass through it. The more fat, the more resistance to the current. The best part of the device is that BIA is safe and it does not hurt.
Since the advent of the first commercially available devices, the method has become popular owing to its ease of use (non invasive), portability of the equipment(like a weight machine) and its relatively low cost compared to some of the other methods of body composition analysis.
This method measures body composition by sending a low, safe electrical current through the body. The current passes freely through the fluids contained in muscle tissue, but encounters difficulty/resistance when it passes through fat tissue. This resistance of the fat tissue to the current is termed “bioelectrical Impedance”, and is accurately measured by body fat scales. When set against a person’s height, gender and weight, the scales can then compute their body fat percentage. The BIA equipments are available at many of the fitness centers as well as hospitals. However, it is noted that few of the studies have shown that BIA is not superior to Body Mass Index (BMI) as a predictor of overall body fat.