Body Composition Analysis (BCA) measures one’s body makeup in fat, muscle, bone and water. It can be performed for adults and children over the age of 5 years old. It distinguishes whether excessive body weight is due to excess fat (obesity), excess muscle (hypermuscular), or excess water content (water retention). It analyses the distribution of the total body water in the extracellular and intracellular compartments of the body, distinguishing water retention and dehydration. It also distinguishes whether obesity is associated with other abnormalities like muscle wastage (sarcopenic obesity) and/or bone loss (osteopaenic obesity).
To measure the body composition we use Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology. It involves passing harmless electric currents through the body to measure the tissue-specific impedance. It analyses the body as a whole (total body composition) and also the individual body segments, each arm, each leg and the trunk (segmental body composition). It estimates the percentage of fat inside the trunk of the body, known as the Visceral Fat, which is a higher predictor of health risk than total body fat.
The test also provides body typing into one of the nine body types distinquishable with Body Composition Analysis, depending on the content in both fat and muscle. This classification is superior to the 3 body types distinguishable with the Body Mass Index which takes into account only the weight and height. Body composition analysis with BIA also provides the phase angle, a measure of cellular health, the sarcopenic index, a measure of the muscle content of the body, the Basal Metabolic Rate, the calculated energy expenditure at absolute rest, and the leg muscle score, depeding on the muscle content of the legs.
The test can be performed clothed however one requirement is being bare feet and hands in order to make skin contact with the machine electrodes, to allow the bioelectric currents to pass into the body. It is recommended to have the test before a meal or exercise, or 2h after, with normal intake of fluids. The variation in the intake or loss of fluid through diet and exercise can alter the results of the test. We recommend serial repeated measurements over time in order to gauge trends and avoid the effect of these fluctuations.