Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/Body composition

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13.2 Body Composition[edit]

13.2.1 Measuring[edit]

Body Composition Makeup and Measuring

The Center for Medical Weight Loss (link), offers a comparison between body weight and body composition. Body weight includes fat, lean body mass, and water. Lean body mass includes muscle, organs, and bone. A standard bathroom scale measures body weight. Body composition refers to the distribution of both muscle and fat in the body. This is often represented as a two part system which includes both lean body and fat weight. A body composition scale provides the user with not only their weight but also the percentage of fat their body contains.

TopEndSports (link) offers information on sports and nutrition. On this website, there is a section on measuring body composition which includes a list of tests which can be used to measure the levels of composition components in the body.

Body Composition Tests

Measurement Skinfold measurement, Girth measurements, Body Weight, Hydrostatic Weighing, Bioelectric Impedance, Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA, Near Infrared Interactance, Total Body Potassium (TBK) , Whole-body Air-Displacement Plethysmography (BodPod), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC), Computed Tomography (CT), Total Body Protein (TBP)

Calculations Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist to Hip Ratio, Ponderal Index, Broca Index, Devine Formula, Muscle Mass Calculation, Calculating %bodyfat using skinfolds, Calculating %bodyfat using girths, Somatotype, Weight for Height Tables

Ratings for % Body Fat Levels

There is more than one site that offers information on the types of body composition testing out there. At there is a list of body composition testing methods that includes description, accuracy, attire someone should wear for testing, advantages, disadvantages, and even the averagecosts associated with the testing.

On , the article written by Jeanie Lerche Davis starts by discussing the old methods such as using measuring tapes and the BMI method. It then goes on to grade the newer methods on a scale from A to F on whether or not the tests do anything to help a person understand body composition; ease and accuracy of methods; and cost.


1. Davis. Bathroom Scales Don’t Tell the Whole Truth. Medicinenet.Com. Retrieved from

2. Doyle (1998). Body Composition. The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page. Retrieved from

3. Fitness Testing: About Body Composition Measuring. Topendsports. Retrieved from

4. Fitness Testing: Body Composition Testing. Topendsports. Retrieved from

5. Fitness Testing:  % Body Fat Norms. Topendsports. Retrieved from

6. Topend Sports: The Ultimate Sport and Science Resource. Topendsports. Retrieved from

7. Your Body Weight vs. Body Composition: What’s the Difference?. The Center for Medical Weight Loss. Retrieved from health/your-body-weight-vs-body-composition-whats-the-difference/.