Body Composition Comparison Chart


MEASUREMENT DEVICE

ACCURACY

SPEED

SAFETY

COST

SPECIAL POPULATIONS*


THE BOD POD
$25 to $49

UNDERWATER WEIGHING
$25 to $50

DUAL ENERGY X-RAY
$100

BIOELECTRIC ANALYSIS
$15 to $30

SKINFOLD CALIPERS
$15 to $30



Bod Pod (Air Displacement)


Description: One of the newest forms of body composition testing involving state of the art technology. The use of Bod Pod correlates with the concept of hydrostatic weighing (underwater weighing). Instead of using water to measure body volume, the Bod Pod uses air displacement to measure body volume for a faster, safer and more convenient test.  Measurement time takes roughly 10 minutes per individual.

Accuracy: When using the same Bod Pod for repeated testing there is a ± 1% error.  Measurements are accurate as well as easy to chart progress over time. It is safe to conduct repeated testing in the Bod Pod.

Factors that may affect accuracy of the Bod Pod

  • Hydration levels and increases in muscle temperature can adversely affect calculation results
  • It is imperative to breathe normally, remain still, and keep hands in lap while being assessed by the Bod Pod (movement or change in breathing pattern may affect results)
  • Air present in clothing and hair can skew test results, which is why tight fitting compression shorts and a swim cap (provided by Body Metrics, if needed) are required attire

Advantages

  • Does not require getting wet
  • Measurement time is short
  • Well-suited for special populations (children, obese, elderly, and disabled persons)
  • Progress is tracked in charts with all of your previous tests
  • The Bod Pod's calculations are done automatically within the software with no risk of human error and no way to manually tweak results
  • Our mobile Bod Pod lab can be easily displayed front and center or discreetly tucked away at your facility

Where can I have my body composition assessed by the Bod Pod?

  • In the Southeast, Body Metrics operates a mobile BOD POD testing unit
  • We offer groups and organizations the ability to schedule our mobile testing unit at their location for the highest level of convenience for their employees or members
  • View our mobile BOD POD testing unit calendar for upcoming testing events

How much does it cost to have my body composition assessed by the Bod Pod?

  • $49 - $249 packages available. See our rates
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Underwater Weighing (Hydrostatic Weighing)


Description: This method uses Archimedes principle which states that when a body is submerged in water, there is a buoyant counter force equal to the weight of the water which is displaced. Because bone and muscle are more dense than water, a person with a larger percentage of fat free mass will weigh more in the water and have a lower percent body fat. Conversely, fat floats. Therefore, a large amount of fat mass will make the body lighter in the water and have a higher percent body fat.

Accuracy: If each test is performed correctly according to the recommended guidelines, there is a +/- 3% error. (Note: Accuracy depends on the client’s ability to blow all the air out of their lungs during the test. Since air makes the body float, inability to blow it ALL out will result in miscalculation of the percent body fat and inaccurate results.)

Disadvantages:

  • Testing is time consuming, involved, and requires subjects to get wet
  • Being submerged under water may be difficult and produce anxiety for some
  • Requires time consuming preparations and post-test shower to rinse off dirty water
  • Depending on number of subjects testing on a given day, water can become dirty and produce unsanitary conditions
  • Administering tests and computing calculations involves a risk of human error, and allows the operator to tweak results
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Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)


Description: DEXA is based on the three component model of body composition. DEXA uses two X-ray energies to measure body fat, muscle, and bone mineral. When having the scan done, one must lay still in the supine position on what looks like an x-ray table. It takes approximately twelve minutes for the computer software to produce an image of the tissues. The results may be viewed as whole body estimates of body fat, muscle, and bone mineral as well as regional body estimates.

Accuracy: DEXA is highly accurate, and takes bone mineral content into consideration when estimating body fat and muscle.

Disadvantages:

  • DEXA is costly and tough to find
  • Radiation exposure
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Bioelectrical Analysis


Description: By standing barefoot on metal plates, an undetectably low voltage electric current is sent up one leg and down the other. Since fat is a very poor conductor of electricity, a lot of fat will impede the current more so than a lot of lean tissue. By measuring the resistance to the current, the machine estimates the percentage of body fat.

Accuracy: BIA accuracy, if done correctly on properly operating equipment, is approximately +/- 4%. However, accuracy is dependant upon several client-based variables with the most sensitive being hydration levels.

Disadvantages:

  • This method has a higher standard error range than most people desire
  • Tendency to consistently overestimate lean people and underestimate obese people
  • BIA's accuracy is dependant on multiple variables which are hard to control for most subjects
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Skinfold Measurements


Description: This assessment uses a piece of equipment called a skinfold caliper, designed specifically for simple measurement of subcutaneous tissue.

Accuracy: If each test is performed correctly according to the recommended guidelines, there is a +/- 3.5% error.

Disadvantages:

  • Calipers can only measure subcutaneous fat (under the skin)
  • Accuracy depends greatly on the skill and experience of the tester
  • Even with a skilled tester, accurate measurements are tough to find in obese and very lean subjects
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