Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a research-grade “gold standard” method of assessing body composition. The highly sophisticated BIA instrument allows for quick, simple, accurate evaluation. As you lie comfortably clothed on an exam table, the BIA instrument uses an imperceptible electrical current (introduced through pads on your hand and foot) to measure your true percentage of body fat, your lean mass, your hydration status and more. This data set is a critical assessment tool for your current state of health.
Research has demonstrated that body composition is directly related to health. The term “body composition” refers to the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass (primarily muscle). A normal balance of body fat has repeatedly been shown to be associated with good health and longevity. On the other hand, excess fat dramatically increases your risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, endocrine disorders and more. Accurate evaluation of your body composition should be an integral part of any overall health assessment.
We use BIA results to guide creation of your personalized exercise and dietary plan (including nutritional supplements when appropriate) to help you achieve and maintain optimal health. We also use BIA to monitor progress as you work to improve your health. Improving your BIA (or maintaining a healthy BIA) can help to keep your body functioning properly for healthy aging.
BIA should not be confused with Body Mass Index (BMI). Body Mass Index is simply a calculation using height and weight. BMI often provides misleading information because BMI cannot distinguish between bones, fat and muscles. For instance, BMI does not distinguish between lean muscle mass and fat in athletes; therefore, the BMI of a highly muscled athlete often suggests (incorrectly) that the athlete is overweight.
On the other hand, BMI height and weight calculation often incorrectly places elderly persons and thin people into the healthy weight category. While a thin person may fall into a healthy weight range based on the BMI height and weight calculation, that person may have a high percentage of body fat and inadequate amounts of lean muscle mass. It is common for the elderly to lose muscle mass and weight as they age; BMI height and weight calculations will not reveal this dangerous trend.
Research conducted at Baylor College compared BMI results to the results of a true body fat percentage test (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis). The study found that one out of six children with a “normal” BMI scored a high percentage of body fat. One out of four children labeled as obese by the BMI scored a normal percentage of body fat. Hence, BMI categorization may prevent some people from receiving necessary weight loss help and may mislabel others as overweight when they have a healthy percentage of body fat.
In short, the ability of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) to accurately measure body fluid and solid body mass makes the accuracy of BIA far superior to BMI categorization. BIA is simple, quick and inexpensive to obtain. BIA facilitates early detection of improper balance in body composition, which allows for earlier intervention and prevention.
Dr. R. Todd Shaver is a chiropractic physician at Shaver Chiropractic & Natural Medicine. As a distinguished fellow of chiropractic biophysics, Dr. Shaver utilizes spinal adjustment and other chiropractic physical medicine procedures to address injury and pain and to promote wellness. He is Wilmington’s only chiropractic physician to have achieved specialty status (D.I.C.C.P.) in chiropractic pediatrics and prenatal care. To learn more, go to www.shavernaturalmedicine.com, call (910) 452-5555, or contact his office at [email protected].
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