Body Composition

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Body Composition Defined & Application

  • The physiological make-up of an individual in terms of the distribution of lean body mass (bone, muscle, organs & connective tissue) and fat mass (stored adipose tissue).
  • On average, men have less body fat (15%) then women (25%).
  • Elite performer average, <10% male & <15%

Test Methods

  • BMI: measure of weight in relation to height (kg / m2). +simple meadure of fatness within health professionals. -unsuitable for pregnant, young, elderly & athletes. NB...atheletes heavier muscles push up BMI and over normal range to 'obese'

Body mass index (BMI) 

To calculate BMI, a person's weight in kilograms is divided by his/her height (in metres) squared.

<19 : underweight

19-25 : Normal

26-30 : Overweight

30-40 : Obese

>40 : Morbidly obese

  • SKINFOLD MEASURES: % body fat estimated by the skinfold calliper measure, which measures subcutaneous fat (fat below  skin) at specific parts of the body. The total of these measurements is compared to a 'norms' table. +widely used, good estimate. -need training to ensure accuracy.
  • BIOELECTRICAL IMPEDANCE: involves passing a small electrical current through the body (through fluid within muscle but experiences resistance


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