Technological advances in all walks of life have indeed been a big boon, especially in the preventive health care domain, with the market being flooded with gadgets, for almost everything, right from monitoring blood glucose, blood pressure to even the body composition parameters like fat percentage etc.
The Fat Monitors, which have been fairly popular and common in India, since the last decade are indeed the most helpful and easy to use gadgets existing.
They work on the principle of Bio-electrical impedance, which simply means the resistance offered by the body tissues, especially the adipose (fat) tissue deposits.
They are usually of two types – portable & hand held, or fixed, like the weighing machine, with foot plates that need to be stood upon. A small electrical current signal is sent through the electrodes in contact with the human body, and the resistance is calibrated and measured. The signal travels quickly through the muscle/lean mass tissue, which have higher percentages of water and therefore are good conductors of electricity, and more slowly through fat tissues, which have a lower percentage of water and therefore are poor conductors of electricity.
All the monitors have an internal digital calculator, which then, based on standard formulae, calculates the fat percentage depending upon the measured value, and the gender, age, weight and height of the person, which have to be entered prior to switching on the device.
Some guidelines while using the machine are –
o Usually, removing of any jewellery or accessories on hands and arms are recommended.
o Using the monitor is dangerous if you are a heart patient with a pacemaker, due to interference.
o You must not be dehydrated while using the machine.
o Give adequate gap of 2 hours after a meal, to use the machine.
o Individuals, especially women with problems like water retention etc. may get inaccurate readings.