Body Fat Testing Methods Review

Body fat testing methods review

Excluding your bathroom scale and even hi tech variations, there are a number of professional body fat testing methods available so it is useful to understand why each is unique, their pre-test requirements, analyzer accuracy, repeatable accuracy, skill requirements to preform body fat testing, the level of reported detail you can get and of course the convenience.

 

Body composition analyzer accuracy matters

  • Hydrostatic (underwater) methods are available in very limited locations, are expensive and generally inconvenient however it is the gold standard to which all other body fat testing methods are compared.
  • Skin Fold Calipers popular in fitness centres, requires the same skilled technician to complete the body fat testing procedure to ensure continuing accuracy. Body fat testing with calipers can be unreliable for obese people, and embarrassing for most
  • DEXA testing can only be done in hospitals and is expensive, time consuming plus it exposes the body to x-rays
  • Bod Pod System uses a method called air displacement to estimate body fat composition but requires a very specific protocol be followed before the test,  specific clothing, hair length and even shaving habits be identical for retest accuracy
  • Bio-electrical Impedance (BIA) while common, it tends to be less accurate unless a very strict pre-test protocol is adhered to and cannot be used on pregnant women or individuals with cardiac implants (pacemakers or defibrillators)
  • Near Infrared Light (NIR) is the quickest, easiest and least expensive of all testing methods as it requires no advance protocol or specific clothing requirements, can be completed anytime of day, has excellent initial and repeatable accuracy

 

Professional body fat testing methods & accuracy review

Futrex ® Near Infrared Light
Under Water Weighing
Skin Fold Calipers
Bio-Electrical Impedance **
Bod Pod
Need For Fasting
No
Yes - 2 Hours
No

Yes - 4 hours
especially caffeinated products


Avoid Alcohol for 48 Hours

Yes - 3 hours

Need For Disrobing & Other Personal Requirements
No
Yes
Yes
Yes - socks or stockings must be removed
Yes - very specific clothing requirements

Body hair length & shaving habits reduce repeatable accuracy
Accurate Measure After Exercise
Yes
No
No
No - avoid intense exercise 12 hours prior to test
No - must fast & rest 3 hours prior
Need For Voiding *
No
Yes - Within 30 minutes of test
No
Yes - Within 30 minutes of test
No
Accuracy
Excellent
Excellent
Very good if preformed by same qualified technician
Excellent only if criteria is followed **
Equivalent to calipers if  criteria is followed
Repeatability
Excellent
Moderate
Depends On Operator
Excellent only if criteria is followed **
Excellent only if criteria is followed
Skill level required to properly conduct  tests
Low
High
High
Moderate
Moderate
Possible Risks
None
None
None
Yes for pacemakers or internal defibrillators; unknown during early pregnancy
None
Cost
Low
High
Low with a gym membership
Low to moderate
Moderate
Report Detail
Excellent
Excellent
Moderate
Very good
Very good
* Voiding means emptying the bladder
** Excludes retail devices that lack gold standard body composition analyzer accuracy

Because DEXX tends to be a medical procedure available only through hospitals or other specialized facilities, it is excluded from the comparison of body fat testing methods.

 

Recommended :: Near infrared light body fat testing method

In the 1990's U.S. Government’s research laboratories in Beltsville, Maryland demonstrated that percent body fat can be accurately measured using harmless low energy light. The research proved that the amount of fat in a body part could be accurately determined by analyzing the change in the light as it went through the body part.

The researchers made one other fundamental discovery about body fat testing:

That there were very specific sites on the human body where the local percent body fat is directly proportional to the percent fat of the total body. They further proved it didn’t matter whether you were a super-athlete, a bodybuilder or a couch potato, that a measurement using near infrared light on just one of those body sites provided the same percent body fat as the official gold standard hydrostatic (underwater) test method.

Peer reviewed body composition analyzer vs. gold standard studies (5mb pdf) ...

Body composition analyzer accuracy, simplicity and low cost

Our Futrex ® Body Composition Analyzer System for body fat testing uses this same accurate, yet harmless near infrared light to measure the combination of the subcutaneous and the intramuscular fat, thus providing accurate total percent body fat. Over 100,000 similar light instruments are currently being used by professional sports teams, law enforcement agencies, college sports teams, corporations and hospitals around the world.

Where is the measurement taken?  On the bicep muscle of your arm, half way between the shoulder and the elbow.  Simple, quick, non-intrusive, very accurate and reports in minutes!

When you want an affordable, quick, safe and accurate body fat testing method, it doesn't get better than our Futrex ® Body Composition Analyzer System. 

Call (905) 855-3000 to learn more or to book your body fat testing appointment today.

 

Body Composition Analysis Services
Futrex Body Composition Analyzers

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