Your weight isn’t the best indicator of the health of your body. Your body composition - the amount of fat versus lean mass you carry - reveals more about your health than the scale alone can indicate. At South Sound Preventive Medicine, located in Olympia, Washington and serving patients throughout Southwest Washington, we monitor your body composition to make sure that you aren’t just losing weight, you are losing the right kind of weight.
BMI, or body mass index, uses the ratio of your weight to your height to determine whether you’re “normal, “overweight,” or “obese.” This measure is much too general and incomplete; it often gives entirely wrong indicators in evaluations as to whether you’re at a healthy weight.
A muscular person may weigh more and register an “obese” body mass index, even though their weight is due to healthy lean tissue. And, some people at a “normal” BMI carry too much body fat and are at risk for disease.
Having a healthy ratio of body fat to lean body mass supports good health. Too much body fat – particularly visceral (“belly”) fat, increases your risk of disease, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer, among many others.
At South Sound Preventive Medicine, we use a technology called bioimpedance, which analyzes your body fat percentage and the weights of your fat and fat-free mass. The process uses electrodes to pass a gentle current through your tissues. The current moves slowly through fat tissue and relatively quickly through lean tissue. The machine then takes the measurement of the current’s movement to determine your body fat percentage. The scan takes 60 seconds and is not much different than using a traditional scale.
Men who have a body fat percentage more than 25% and women more than 30% usually benefit from weight-loss intervention. These levels indicate that you’re carrying too much fat and are at risk of chronic disease as a result.