Monday, 2 July 2012

Methods of measuring body composition - Shamus

The method of measuring body composition that I prefer is Near Infrared Interactance (NIR).

This method of assessing body fat is based on the principles of light absorbtion, reflectance, and near infrared spectroscopy. To estimate body composition, a computerized spectrophotometer that has a scan and probe are used. The probe is placed onto a selected body site such as the biceps; it emitts an infrared light which passes through both fat and muscle and is reflected back to the probe. Subject data such as height, weight, sex, age, frame size and activity level are taken into consideration. Density measurements are obtained and incorporated into the manufacturer's prediction equations. A digital read out including percentage body fat and lean tissue are displayed.

This method is not the most accurate, but it is cost efficient and convenient. Futrex 5000 (an example of NIR) underestimated body fat by more than 4% in subjects greater than 30% fat and overestimated body fat by 4% in subjects less than 8% fat. 

Its advantages include safe, non-invasive, fast, and convenient. It is inexpensive, and only costs anywhere from 20 to 40 dollars. It is available at health clubs, weight loss centers, and medical practices offering weight loss programs. 

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