Important Facts about Body Composition.
It is important to know the body composition of an individual in order to be able to estimate the health condition. So not only one’s weight, but its quality needs defining, which means dividing the human body in two major components:
– Lean body mass: bones, muscles, viscera, water, organs, blood
– Fat body mass: adipose cells
Under equal weight conditions of weight, these two masses have different volumes.
Body fat mass
The total body fat mass is calculated by summing up the essential fat (or primary fat) and the spare fat (or storage fat). The essential fat is necessary for the metabolism and some spare fat, which is theoretically surplus, is necessary for those who carry out physical activities. Therefore, the normal percentage of fat mass on the body weight is approximately 16 % for men and 27 % for women.
For a correct control of one’s ideal weight, it is important, in addition to the weight, to compare the body fat and body water percentage. The body water % is an important indication of the overall «well being» of a human being as water is the single most important component of body weight and represents more than half (about 60 %) of the total weight. Microlife’s Body Fat Scale allows you to evaluate body composition and automatically calculates body fat and water percentage in relation to height, age and sex.
Bone mass increases rapidly in childhood and reaches its maximum between 30 and 40 years.It decreases slightly afterwards with increasing age. Healthy nutrition, regular exercise including some level of muscle building can help to reduce bone degeneration. However, little influence can be taken on bone mass. Factors like age, gender, weight, and height have a small influence on the bone mass. Average adult bone mass is 15 % for male and 12 % for female. There are no recognised guidelines or recommendations relating to bone mass.
Muscle mass is important in determining a healthy body composition. A person with a higher % of muscle mass finds it easier to move, but needs more energy to do it. Exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy body and the muscle mass % is a useful indicator to control it. The normal muscle mass percentage on the body weight lies between 38% and 54% for men and between 28% and 39% for women depending on age and physical activity level.
Body Mass Index
The body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults. It is calculated by dividing the body weight in kg by the square of the height in m of a person. However, it overestimates fatness in people who are muscular or athletic. According to the WHO the BMI Classification is as follows:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) in kcal
BMR is the amount of energy required by the body when in a state of complete rest to maintain its basic functions. About 70 % of a human’s total energy expenditure is due to the basal life processes within the organs of the body. About 20% of one’s energy expenditure comes from physical activity and another 10% from the digestion of food. An estimation can be acquired through an equation using age, sex, height, and weight.
The estimation method used is the scientifically recognized HARRIS-BENEDICT formula.