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Weight Scale Body Fat Measuring Devices

June 24, 2009


A cool guy from the UK (I think) with a unique name — JJ Jalopy — and an awesome blog, asked the following question:

“What do you think of those body-fat measuring scales? Are they accurate?”

Body fat measuring scale
The answer to this question, in a word, is “sometimes”. Here’s the skinny on these fat measuring devices.

Those scales use a process called “bioelectrical impedence analysis” (BIA) to calculate body fat levels. BIA is based on a mathematical formula called Ohm’s law, which quantifies the volume of water in the body, and from this, the percentage body fat. The weakness in this method is that the amount of water in your body will affect the accuracy of the device. Also, skin temperature, which is affected by the temp in the room you’re in affects BIA body fat measurement. Oh, and BIA tends to over-predict body fat levels in lean people and under-predict body fat in obese people. For these reasons, I recommend skinfold measurements via a skinfold caliper. This is a better, more accurate way to go.

Darryl

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