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Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) - Body Mass Analysis
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Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) - Body Mass Analysis

What is Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)?

Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis or Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) is a method of assessing your body composition, the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass. It is an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment.

Research has shown that body composition is directly related to health.  A normal balance of body fat is associated with good health and longevity.  Excess fat in relation to lean body mass, altered body composition, can greatly increase your risks for cardiovascular disease diabetes, and more.  BIA allows for early detection of an improper balance in your body composition, which fosters earlier intervention and prevention.  BIA also provides a measurement of fluid and body mass that can be a critical assessment tool for your current state of health.

Since "fat loss" is the goal when people set out to lose "weight" and "muscle gain" is the goal when people set out to gain "weight", the nutritionists of "Healthy Directions" monitor body composition changes (fat weight vs. lean fat free weight) rather than monitor people with weekly "weigh-ins". Rather than feeling frustrated with the scale, health conscious people are usually very happy to learn of their progress when viewing BIA results.

How Does BIA Work?

This non-invasive test simply involves the placement of two electrodes on the person's right hand and right foot. A low level, imperceptible electrical current is sent through the body. The flow of the current is affected by the amount of water in the body. The device measures how this signal is impeded through different types of tissue. Tissues that contain large amounts of fluid and electrolytes, such as blood, have high conductivity, but fat and bone slow the signal down. As BIA determines the resistance to flow of the current as it passes through the body, it provides estimates of body water from which body fat is calculated using selected equations. 

For nutritionists providing dietary supplementation and individualized nutritional guidance, BIA helps to measure progress. For individuals using BIA, an improving or healthy BIA measurement can increase the likelihood that your body is functioning properly, aging well with a reduced risk of illness.

How accurate is it?

While no methods of body composition measurement are 100% accurate, the margin of error derived from BIA is 3-4%, comparable to the skinfold caliper method.  The error margin for hydrostatic weighing and the "bod pod" is 2-2.5%.  Near infrared method of body composition measurement has a 4-5% margin of error.  The nutritionists of Healthy Directions choose BIA over other body fat methods due to the health information provided by BIA in addition to body composition.  Participants of any of the programs offered by Healthy Directions are advised to continue with one method of body composition measurement, since the progress seen from each measurement is accurate.

How much does it cost?

The current fee for this test through Healthy Directions, Nutrition Therapy and Counseling Center of Doylestown Hospital, is $70.

Note:This product is not meant to substitute for proper medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to a medical condition.  Anyone deciding to make a change in lifestyle, exercise, nutrition, or other routines should check with his/her physician.