Monday, 2 July 2012

Hydrostatic Underwater Weighing

Hydrostatic weighing, also known as Hydrodensitometry or underwater weighing, is a classic measure of body composition. Its the best way to measure body fat percentage as well

Equipment needed:
Hydrostatic stainless steel weighing tank, including underwater mounted chair and scale, weighted belt and nose clip. A more simple set up may include a chair and scale suspended from a diving board over a pool or hot tub.

The dry weight of the subject is first determined. The subject, in minimal clothing, then sits on a specialized seat, expels all the air from their lungs, and is lowered into the tank until all body parts are emerged. The person must remain motionless underwater while the underwater weight is recorded. This procedure is repeated several times to get a dependable underwater weight measure. 

How to measure:
Body density = Wa / (((Wa - Ww) / Dw) - (RV + 100cc)), where Wa = body weight in air (kg), Ww = body weight in water (kg), Dw = density of water, RV = residual lung volume, and 100cc is the correction for air trapped in the gastrointestinal tract. The body density (D) can be converted to percent bodyfat (%BF) using the Siri equation. For more accuracy residual lung volume (RV) should be physically measured, though there are calculations for RV estimation. One estimation of residual volume is one third of forced vital capacity (FVC)

Underwater weighing is the most widely used test of body density and in the past was the criterion measure for other indirect measures.

The equipment required to do underwater weighing is expensive. The tanks are mostly located at university or other research institutions, and there is generally not easy access for the general population.

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