Body Composition Essay

502 Words3 Pages
Body composition analysis is a physical test that measures the proportion of the various components of a person's body. The human body is composed of water, protein, fat, and minerals — but for most purposes, it is the level of fat compared to lean mass that is of interest. In general, most body composition analysis tests measure the ratio of fat to lean tissue. Body fat, or adipose tissue, has chemical and physical properties that allow for a number of analytical methods, each with its own advantages and limitations. Skin fold caliper testing has been used for body composition analysis for years, and is generally considered to be an accurate measure of body fat. The test is based on the assumption that roughly half of the body's fat is immediately under the skin. Measurements are taken at strategic locations, including the biceps, triceps, the mid- and lower back, and the calf, and the results are then applied to an equation that is used to estimate the total body fat percentage. While the skin fold test is an accurate one, it requires a certain degree of expertise and precision by the person making the measurements. Additionally, for many people, the process of being measured can be an emotionally uncomfortable one, in which case less invasive methods might be preferable. Bioelectrical impedance is based on the principle that lean tissue is more electrically conductive than fat. A mild, painless electrical current is passed from the wrist to the foot. This test is often the body composition analysis method of choice in health clubs because the test can be performed fully clothed, and requires minimal skill on the part of the examiner. Equipment required for bioelectrical impedance testing can be expensive compared to skin calipers, so this testing may be found mainly at large facilities. Hydrostatic weighing is often referred to as the gold standard for body
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