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Body Composition Analysis

Body Composition Analysis (BCA)

Body Composition Analysis (BCA) measures one’s body tissue makeup in fat, muscle, bone and water, and relates it to the total body weight.  It distinguishes whether an excessive body weight is due to fat (obesity), muscles (hypermuscular), or water content (water retention). It also distinguishes whether obesity is associated with other body composition abnormalities like muscle wastage (sarcopenia) and/or bone loss (osteopaenia). It analyses the distribution of the total body water between the extracellular and intracellular compartments, distinguishing water retention from good hydration. The test allows body typing into nine body types, according to the content in fat and muscle, which is superior to the traditional 3 body types distinguishable with the Body Mass Index (BMI).

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.

Body composition analysis with BIA also provides a number of other parameters like the phase angle (measure of cellular health), the sarcopenic index (measure of the muscular composition of the body), the leg muscle score (measure of health based on the muscle content of the legs), and the Basal Metabolic Rate (energy expenditure at absolute rest). The result of Body Composition Analysis are translated into a Metabolic Age, which is a component of one’s Biological Age as opposed to his/hers Chronological Age, referring to the youthfullness of one’s metabolism.

It can be performed for adults and children over the age of 5 years. 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.

health check

Due to the passing of low-intensity electrical currents through the body, the test is not appropriate for people with implantable medical electronic devices like brain implants, cochlear or retinal implants, cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, nerve or spinal cord stimulators and other. The results of BCA with BIA technology may not be accurate enough in people with large joint replacements and metalwork for fracture repair.