Body Composition – What do I need to know?

 In Excercise, Therapeutic Exercise, Wellness

ObesityBy Kevin O’Connor

At Dublin Physiotherapy Clinic we utilise a Tanita Body Composition Analyser, an extremely reliable method for body composition analysis. It’s fast, consistent, accurate and easy to use. More than simple weight or body fat % levels provided by ordinary scales or calipers, the Tanita Body Composition Analyser provides detailed body composition analysis i.e. weight, impedance, body fat %, body mass index, fat mass, fat-free mass and more, all without the inconvenience of more intrusive traditional measurement methods. Don’t get put off by the terminology – it’s explained clearly below and you’ll see why it’s important to have this detail for planning the best Medical Exercise interventions.

Obesity

occurs when somebody  carry’s too much body fat for their height and sex, and those affected will frequently suffer from breathlessness, excessive sweating and joint pain. Obesity also significantly increases the risk of host of additional health issues e.g. Osteoarthritis, Heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Breast cancer.

Lack of exercise is the most common cause of obesity, but there are other causes as well (e.g. disorders of the thyroid gland). In most cases, the only treatment needed is a reduction in dietary calories and correct exercise.

 

What do these different parameters mean to me?

Body Mass Index (BMI)

is a way of seeing if your weight is appropriate for your height. The calculation is your weight (kilograms) divided by your height (metres) squared. BMI can be divided into several categories and generally the higher your BMI the greater your risk of a large range of medical problems. Inaccuracies can occur if you’re an athlete or very muscular as this can give you a higher BMI even if you have a healthy level of body fat. BMI is also not appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people who are very frail. By losing weight you will reduce your BMI and put yourself into a lower risk group.

Body fat percentage

is your body fat as a proportion of your total body weight.Reducing excess levels of body fat has been shown to reduce the risk of certain conditions such as high bloodpressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The charts below show the healthy ranges for body fat relative to age. As your age increases, your acceptable body fat increases as well, because as we get older there are physiological changes in our bodies so that our fat increases.

Visceral fat

is the fat that is located around the abdomen, surrounding the vital organs in the abdominal cavity. Research shows that even if weight and body fat remains constant, as we get older the distribution of fat changes and is more likely to shift to the trunk area (especially post menopause). By ensuring you have healthy levels of visceral fat you can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

 

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

is the minimum level of energy your body needs when at rest to function effectively (i.e. maintaining your respiratory and circulatory organs, neural system, liver, kidneys, and other organs). About 70% of calories consumed every day are used for your basal metabolism. In addition, energy is used when doing any kind of activity however; the more vigorous the activity is the more calories are burned. This is because skeletal muscle (which accounts for approximately 40% of your body weight) acts as your ‘metabolic engine’ and uses a large amount of energy. Your basal metabolism is affected by the quantity of lean muscle you have, therefore increasing your muscle mass will help increase your basal metabolism. Having a higher basal metabolism will increase the number of calories used and help to decrease body fat.

Muscle Mass

indicates the amount of lean muscle tissue in your body, and includes the skeletalmuscles, smooth muscles (such as cardiac and digestive muscles) and their water content.Muscles play an important role as they act as an engine in consuming energy. As your muscle mass increases, your energy consumption increases helping you reduce excess body fat levels and lose weight in a healthy way.

  

 

Exercise Medicine: A Prescription for Your Health!

 

Physical inactivity is a fast-growing public health problem & contributes to a variety of chronic diseases & health complications, including obesity, diabetes & cancer. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths (World Health Organization), & contributes to a variety of chronic diseases & health complications, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression and anxiety, arthritis, & osteoporosis. In a 2012 report by The International Association for the Study of Obesity it emerged that one in four (25.8%) adult males & one in five (21.3%) adult females in Ireland was clinically obese.

 

The benefits of regular physical activity:

 

• Can reduce risk of heart disease by 40%


• Can reduce risk of stroke by 27%


• Can reduce incidence of diabetes by almost 50%


• Can reduce incidence of high blood pressure by almost 50%


• Can reduce mortality & the risk of recurrent breast cancer by almost 50%

• Can reduce the risk of colon cancer by more than 60%


• Can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by one-third

Call us on 01 8820174 to book an appointment or to get further details.

 

Kevin O’Connor MISCP CSCS

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