Bathroom Scales Don't Tell The Whole Story
Experts rate the best and worst in body-fat measurement devices.
Infrared Light Measuring
Infrared light measuring is an inexpensive way to measure body fat with a
soil-analysis-type device that agronomists use, Bryant explains.
Here's what happens: A probe is placed on a body site -- the biceps, for
instance -- sending an infrared light ray through both fat and muscle. Your
height, weight, sex, age, frame size, and activity level are factored in. The
final number is a "rough estimate" of your body fat percentage, says
Price: $25 to $50 per test.
The verdict: "It hasn't proven to be terribly
accurate," Bryant tells WebMD.
Grade: F. Don't waste your time or money, says McCrory.
These are the simple height-vs.-weight tables used for years by many
insurance companies. But the experts say they just don't work very well, even
if they take body frame and sex into account.
The verdict: "These charts have significant limitations,"
says Bryant. "They really aren't measuring fat-to-lean tissue. They are
based on a limited sample of the population and can be misleading."
Grade: F. "These do nothing to help us understand body
composition," Kravitz says.