What is a Body Composition Scale?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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Whereas most scales simply measure weight, a body composition scale offers much more information. The fact is that many people look at charts for their body mass index and may feel a little dissatisfied. However, those charts are made for a specific body and may not apply to all. A body composition scale may offer a better way of determining how much body fat you have.

The purpose of the body composition scale is to give individuals a better idea of their overall health than what their body mass index might offer. The body mass index is figured simply on weight and height. This may be fine for some, but what about those who are more muscular? What about those who have other physical features, such as larger bones? Calculating total body fat is a better way to determine overall health.

The body composition scale does this by using an bioelectrical impedance analysis. An electrical current is sent through the body and the resistance is measured. During this process, the user will feel nothing. The scale is programmed to understand certain things about fat and muscle. For example, it is easier for the current to go through muscle. Therefore, it can provide an accurate measurement of body fat by measuring how much resistance is offered.


Most body composition scales also offer some advice, such as the number of calories you need to consume each day to maintain weight, your target weight and target body fat percentage. This information is much more useful than simply having a target weight to reach for. In some cases, some may find they may not need to lose as much as the body mass index would suggest. Further, for some, losing that much would put them at a risk of being underweight.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when looking to purchase or use a body composition scale. First, you must be fully hydrated in order to get an accurate reading. Second, using the scale right after eating or resting can dramatically throw off the results. Third, the body composition scale costs considerably more than a normal scale, averaging around $100 US Dollars (USD). While it is possible to get them cheaper, choosing a lower-end model may not give as accurate of readings.

If using a body composition scale, the key is to do so consistently, no matter how many times a week you check it. Finding a certain point of the day in your routine to get on the scale is vital. It should be three hours after eating or resting, and probably at least a couple of hours after exercising to give yourself time to rehydrate.


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