Fat or Lean: What does Your BCA indicate?

One day a friend of mine came to me in a state of shock and disbelief. On asking she said, “Can you imagine a thin person dying of cardiac arrest?” I replied in affirmative.

Yes we do associate an obese person with all these diseases but the thin ones are also not spared. Our weight predisposes us towards these diseases but how much percentage of this weight is FAT is the determining factor. A research study done by Dr Anoop Misra studied 400 diabetics for relationship between diabetes and obesity. By conventional BMI (Body mass index) criteria (height in relation to weight), just 40 per cent of the subjects were classed as obese. But when body fat percentages were considered, 90 per cent of the total group were found to be obese.

This research definitely proves that not just quantity but quality also matters.

A conventional weighing scale can measure total body weight, but it cannot tell you how much of this weight is fat. The inner picture can be obtained by doing Body Composition Analysis or BCA. BCA describes the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in human bodies. A person who looks slim may have a high percentage of fat in the body. This person will be unaware of the risk his body composition poses. But BCA helps us in assessing this risk. An inappropriate Lean to fat mass ratio is a wake up call to improve our diet and lifestyle.

Numerous mechanisms and machines are available which compute fat percentages. Nowadays even weighing scales are being equipped to calculate the same. Let us see how to interpret the results (fat percentages) we get from these machines:

Body Fat Ranges (Percent)

Interpretation

Males

Females

6-10

10-15

Exceptionally Lean

11-14

16-19

Very Lean

15-18

20-25

Lean

19-24

26-29

Moderate Fat

25 and above

30 and above

High Fat

We should try to keep our body fat percentage in the lean bracket because both high as well as low fat percentages have adverse consequences. A high fat percentage poses a risk for development of obesity and diabetes and a lower fat percentage might make a person deficient in fat soluble vitamins or can even lead to poor reproductive function in females.

How to achieve a balance between lean and fat percentage; will discuss in subsequent issues.

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