Understanding Body Composition.

Body composition is the percentage of fat, bone, water and muscle in your body. A healthy body composition consists of a lower percentage of body fat and a higher percentage of fat-free mass. Scroll down to get a better understanding of why body composition is so important to the weight loss process.

Body Fat

Just because people appear the same does not mean they are equally healthy. Even though two people can have the same Body Fat Percentage doesn't mean they suffer from the same health risks. Where body fat is located can place a person at far greater risk for fat-related health conditions such as: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and even certain types of cancers.

Fat around the abdomen may present the greatest risk for health problems. Abdominal fat is most common in males and independent of total fat. It is also associated with increased risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. In contrast, fat around the hips and thighs is most common in females and seems relatively harmless with respect to these health problems.

It is important for your health and well-being to not only know your body fat percentage but to pay attention to where that fat is located.

Lean Body Mass

Lean body mass or lean muscle tissue is the part of your body composition that helps you to burn calories. The more lean tissue you have, the more calories you burn. The goal is to get your body fat percentage to a normal range and to build your lean tissue. To build lean tissue, it is important to get regular physical activity along with a healthy diet.

As you get older, the size and strength of your muscles naturally decrease which in turn, slows down your metabolic rate or the rate at which your body burns calories. The bottom line is to participate in regular physical activities that build muscle strength.

Why is Body Composition Analysis (BCA) important in managing obesity and weight loss?

Since percentage of body fat is the true definition of obesity, standard height and weight charts cannot account for the percentage of body fat. When comparing two people of the exact height and weight, one may be obese, and one may not. In contrast, BCA defines how much of a person is fat and how much of that person should be fat. This method also allows for the accurate measure of Lean Body Mass. This is defined as metabolically active tissue, or everything in the body that is not fat. The measurement of Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is derived from accurate percentage of Lean Body Mass or from an accurate Body Composition Analysis: BMR is the total number of calories burned in a 24-hour period when at complete rest.

What is Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)?

This is a system for measuring Body Composition. It measures the conductivity of the body using small electrical currents. It is based on the fact that Lean Body Mass is three-fourths water and is therefore, much more conductive than fat tissue. The leaner the individual, the faster the current will travel. BIA provides the percentage and pounds of Lean Body Mass and fat, Lean Body Mass to fat ratio, and Basal Metabolic Rate. The Basal Metabolic Rate is necessary to determine a person's daily total caloric energy requirement. This is the method used to measure Body Fat and Lean Body Mass at a Diet Center located near you.