Go Beyond BMI With Body Composition Analysis

Go Beyond BMI With Body Composition Analysis

Body mass index (BMI) is a formula for estimating body fat. While it’s helpful for getting a baseline idea of how much body fat you’re carrying, it’s a limited measurement. If you’re looking to lose weight and/or increase lean muscle, body composition analysis (BCA) is a superior approach compared to relying on BMI alone.

Being overweight or obese puts a tremendous strain on nearly every organ and system in the body, raising the risk for a host of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Excess weight even increases the likelihood of developing 13 types of cancer, including breast, colon, liver, and pancreatic cancer.

Fortunately, your genes don’t have the final say when it comes to weight. You can take action right now to turn the tide in your favor, slim down, and boost your overall health. 

Family practice physician, Evan Allen, MD, and our clinical team at Total Care Family Practice strive to provide the highest quality of care to the community of Henderson, Nevada. And that includes helping our patients with weight management. 

We share our approach to weight assessment, the limitations of BMI, and how using body composition analysis can help you reach your weight-loss and health goals.

The pros and cons of BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is an estimate of body fat used to determine if you’re at a healthy weight. It’s calculated using your height and weight, and a normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. 

You’re considered overweight if your BMI falls within 25.0 to 29.9, while obesity is classified as having a BMI of 30 or above. The higher your BMI, the more likely you are to develop certain health issues.

BMI does not tell you how much lean muscle you’re carrying, which is a major disadvantage of BMI as a measurement tool. That’s because BMI does not distinguish between weight from fat mass or muscle mass. 

Muscle is an important component to your body composition. It’s more metabolically active than fat, meaning muscle burns more calories than fat. Increasing lean muscle boosts metabolism and improves your overall body composition.

BMI does not consider age and sex. Women, for example, have higher body fat than men, and a target body composition for someone who is 21 is different from that of an adult over 50. This makes it challenging, if not impossible, to set and reach targeted, individualized body-composition goals using BMI alone. 

Body composition analysis: a superior tool

BCA provides vital insights that can help create an individualized weight-loss and health plan. A body composition test can reveal what percentage of your weight comes from muscle, fat, and bone. 

The goal of assessing body composition is to know your baseline, and then we can help you improve your overall body composition. Building and maintaining lean muscle, minimizing body fat, and having good bone density is crucial to your overall health. By improving your body composition, you’re keeping your body strong and fit as well as helping to ward off chronic diseases.

Body composition analysis advantages

BCA can tell us your body fat percentage and whether it’s within a healthy range. Fat comes in two main forms. Subcutaneous fat is found under your skin. Visceral fat surrounds your abdominal organs, making it the most dangerous type of fat. Too much visceral fat is strongly linked to the risk of heart disease.

BCA gives us an idea of how fat is distributed throughout your body, which can provide us with some insight into potential hormonal imbalances or other issues.

Because high fat stores and low muscle mass raise the likelihood of certain chronic diseases, BCA can also point us toward possible health risks you may have, such as diabetes and heart disease. 

Some types of BCA can assess bone density and estimate your risk of developing osteoporosis. If necessary, we can help you take steps to improve bone health and lower your risk of weak bones as you age.

Going beyond BMI

Go beyond BMI with a detailed body composition analysis. Our team can help you meet your weight-loss goals and realize a new, healthier you. To learn more about BCA and our individualized weight-management plans, call our office or book online today. Take the path of a healthier future.

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