Body composition is distribution of body mass between different components such as fat mass, fat free mass and body water. Body composition measurements therefore include body fat and fat free mass percentages, as well as the absolute value in kilograms. Knowledge of body composition is important, as weight and BMI do not consider muscle mass, and body fat percentage is an independent risk factor for certain lifestyle diseases.
Here at the Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health we have multiple ways that body composition can be measured, including the use of the BODPOD, BioImpedance and Ultrasound.
For all of our studies, we provide a detailed breakdown of the body composition as part of the participant demographics, via a TANITA bio impedance analyser and can include waist and hip circumference measurements.
The Centre’s BODPOD, is a highly accurate, detailed and non-invasive way to measure: body fat %, fat free mass %, fat mass (kg), fat free mass (kg), resting metabolic rate (estimated) and total energy expenditure (estimated). This is achieved via a technique known as air displacement plethysmography, the user sits inside the BODPOD chamber for 3 minutes, and hence this is a very time efficient, reliable and method to instantly calculate body composition.
We do not however recommend using the BODPOD for all population groups and so can offer alternative methods ie ultrasound. B-mode ultrasound is a novel body composition method, utilising a standardised methodology for assessment of subcutaneous adipose tissue, which has been shown to have excellent levels of reliability and validity, in several populations including those with adiposity. Additionally, using bioimpedance would allow for assessment of water and skeletal muscle mass.