Does it Work? - body fat analysis scales

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01-28-2003, 03:35 AM
i know it's not a scam, but has anyone used them? how accurate are they? i remember reading an article about them ages ago, but i haven't heard of any current info. can anyone be of help?


01-28-2003, 11:45 AM
If you mean the Tanita body fat scale - personal opinion (as well as many others at is that while the scale weight is accurate, the body fat measurement is much less so (someone at L&S experimented and found that their phone book had 6% body fat according to the Tanita!). The thing is - if you have your bodyfat professionally measured with a bioelectrical impedence (the same principle that the Tanita uses) the technician/trainer will put electrodes on both the top AND bottom half of your body, so that the impulse will go through your entire body and thus give a more accurate reading than the Tanita. I've read somewhere (it's been awhile so I'll have to look for the source) that the electrical impulse from the Tanita bodyfat scale will travel, perhaps, to waist level at most, but there's no way it can travel all the way through your body. (I believe that's why so many women's bodyfat percentages are so high using those scales; after all most of us carry the majority of our fat on our hips/thighs).

And those hand-held devices have the same problem - I believe they are accurate as far as your arms and perhaps the upper torso...but if they were powerful enough to get an accurate full-body reading, you'd probably feel a shock!

My advice - have someone who KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING measure your bodyfat. Most technicians that use one method (Bio-electrical impedence, Bod Pod, immersion) will also back that up with a 5-site caliper measurement.

Personally - I just go by the Pants-O-Meter - clothes fit. IMO that's the ultimate measurement and is totally accurate!

01-28-2003, 05:17 PM
The only totally accurate way to measure body fat is underwater. It is very expensive and hard to find a place that does it. Titania is maybe a little scam since you do get a good weight scale.

01-29-2003, 05:26 PM
Thanks for the info. The ads in the health magazines were just so appealing. I've gotten my body fat measured in my junior college for about $11 (cost of unit for pe class), so maybe I'll just do that again.

And I know the pants-o-meter is quite effective; I am just a gadget girl, so that is partly why the scale appeals to me. Maybe I'll just get a dremel tool instead.... :dizzy:

Suzanne 3FC
01-29-2003, 11:37 PM
To be honest, I've considered buying Tanita scales, too. I've heard that some models of the Tanita are more accurate than others. I've also heard that they are tricky because you need to have the exact amount of hydration in your body every time you use it. This seems true for both home and professional models, because it is using the water in the body to generate the measurement.

Bio-impedence, as it's called, gauges body fat in just seconds by sending a tiny, imperceptible electrical signal through the body, then measuring the resistance to it by various tissue. Fat contains only 20 percent water, so it slows the signal more than other body tissue, which is roughly 75 percent water. By calculating the difference in the signals between fat and other body tissue and taking into account sex and height (as entered by the user), the device produces a body fat measurement.

I've read several "studies" on the Tanita and some show that it is effective to +/- 5%, and recommend it. Others, however, claimed that it varied as much as 16%.

If you set it up correctly and follow their guidelines, you should get a measurement that is accurate enough to chart your progress and at least see if your body fat is decreasing. If you do want a more precise measurement, the underwater method is the most accurate. Calipers are probably the most inaccurate, though, but only because they depend on the skill of the person using them and that varies widely. Apparently the only thing that is 100% accurate involves dissection :eek:

02-01-2003, 11:35 AM
I wanted to say thanks for putting this out there I was thinking about actually puchacing one of these $80 gizmos!

Miss Chris

02-03-2003, 05:51 PM
Part of me still wants the gadget, but I appeased myself with a lovely automatic guitar tuner instead. :-)

The benefits of a guitar tuner vs a body fat analysis scale:
* has more buttons to play with
* smaller
* cheaper
* I can use it daily without warping my body image even more


tee hee.

Suzanne 3FC
02-04-2003, 08:14 PM
LOL! All very good points :)

I think I'll pass on the scales, too. I'll use MrsJim's most accurate pants-o-meter, and I can't go wrong.

02-20-2003, 06:41 PM
Yeah, I bought a Tanita...

It's more accurate for men, and the company even says so. I use it to guage my hydration levels because i tend to forget to drink water, and here in the South that is dangerous.

If you stay hydrated and weigh yourself in at the same time (they suggest evening) you can keep a good chart of your levels, even if they are inaccurate.

03-24-2003, 02:34 PM
I bought one of the tanita scales last weekend at costco for $40...I think it was a good investment...