Body Composition Analysis
“Body Fat Measurement is a useful tool to identify people with excess body fat and create a personalized nutrition plan to reduce fat if it exceeds the recommended range that corresponds to the person’s age, gender and physical activity” Dimitris Oikonomakis
Most diets focus on gaining or maintaining an ideal body weight, based solely on Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements, which does not take into account body fat. This means that body composition is neglected, i.e. adipose tissue, bones, water and muscles that form our bodies. But this approach is inefficient.
This can be explained by the fact that when calculating BMI, some people are categorized in the group of overweight or even obese, despite having a lean and muscular body. The opposite can be also true: BMI is within the normal range and the person is characterized as healthy, despite being overweight with a few muscles and a lot of fat.
Knowing the percentage of Body Fat (%BF) is valuable both to evaluate health and physical condition and to predict sports performance. It is also associated with obesity management and nutritional status evaluation.
The combination of fat measurement and Body Mass Index calculation gives a clearer index to monitor the physical condition of a person.
Fats are essential for supporting life and bodily functions and for protecting organs. They are taken in through diet and stored in the body. When stored fat exceeds a certain level, the person is characterized overweight or obese. Obesity is the cause of many life-threatening diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and cancer.
The normal range for stored fat depends mainly on gender and activity level. According to the American Council on Exercise, the percentage of essential fat ranges from 10% to 13% in women, and from 2% to 5% in men. Athletes belong to the group of people who need to have low levels of fat tissue (14-20% in women and 6-13% in men). People who just exercise regularly to keep in good shape and physical condition may have more body fat (21-24% in women and 14-17% in men). For women that do not belong in any of the above groups it is normal to have 25% to 31% fat and men between 18% and 24%.
Women are characterized as obese when their body fat exceeds 32%. For men, the corresponding rate is 25%.
Age is another parameter that should be taken into account when defining the normal percentage of fat. This is because our metabolism slows down with age, and women struggle with this more than men. Therefore, the above upper limits for women are 1% lower in those above the age of 40 and 2% lower in women above the age of 60.
When the percentage of fat is lower than the normal range, problems may also arise, as it is essential for the regulation of glucose, and cholesterol, to provide energy and to support reproductive hormones metabolism, among other things. Even bodybuilders who are specifically assessed and evaluated for low body fat must maintain a minimum level of fat to be healthy.
Determining body fat content can be achieved through various ways. The method that we have chosen in Myflex is skinfold measurement, which is performed using skinfold calipers. These instruments are being used for a long time in nutrition-related research. It has been demonstrated that their use is important and for years it is a valid anthropometric index of both peripheral and total body fat. Moreover, they are very easy to use.
Skinfold calipers look like a pincher and they are used to determine the amount of subcutaneous fat, by measuring skinfolds at different parts of the body. InMyflex we make measurements of the biceps, triceps, back and abdomen.
Then the corresponding measurement values are recorded in our software, which calculates the amount of body fat. This calculation takes into account age, gender, physical activity and race. Based on the results obtained, we create the appropriate nutrition plan to achieve the goal of reducing body fat and protect health, always taking into consideration both individual preferences and the need for flexibility and freedom.