in every three Americans is overweight, according to the Journal
of the American Medical Association and other leading health
industry observers. All over the country there is a growing
consciousness about this widespread health problem. New labeling
laws now require manufacturers to identify the ingredients
in the foods they prepare and package.
The "food pyramid," a nutrition program emphasizing fruits,
vegetables and whole grains over fats, has been developed
and endorsed by the government as a guide to healthy eating.
And everywhere you look there's another article extolling
the virtues of diet and exercise and warning about the dangers
of fat. Most of us have heard by now that we should exercise
at least two hours a week and limit our fat intake to 25%
of the calories we consume. In short, we have become a nation
preoccupied with losing weight. What you might not know is
that losing weight is not the same as losing fat.
What Is Body Fat
Everyone has it, but some people have more than others. Fat
cells, which burn very slowly, are nature's way of sustaining
us during periods when food is scarce. In some cultures this
natural defense is still important, but because our society
now lives without the threat of famine, body fat can and should
be kept to a minimum. Health professionals recommend that
men maintain an ideal level of no more than 23% body fat and
women a level of 27%.
The Invisible Enemy
Unlike weight, body fat can't always be detected by the naked
eye and it certainly can't be measured on an ordinary scale.A
person may have a slender appearance and relatively low weight,
yet still have an unsafe percentage of fat.Unfortunately,
with age, the situation often grows worse. The average American
loses 1/2 pound of muscle and gains about
1-1/2 pounds of fat every year.
Measuring Body Fat
There are various ways to analyze body fat. Some are extremely
exact, but so costly and labor-intensive that they are typically
reserved for research purposes. Other "low-tech" methods are
faster and cheaper, but they have a larger margin of error.
Hydrodensitometry, a method whereby body fat is measured under
water, sets the standard for accuracy, but involves complicated
formulas, highly trained technicians and expensive laboratory
equipment. Other methods include DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry),
ultrasound, infrared metering and BIA (bioelectrical impedance
Hand-held calipers, which are used to measure the skinfold
thickness, have been used for years with varying degrees of
The Overlooked Consumer
Despite the growing demand for preventive health care and
wellness programs, information about body fat and reliable
methods for measuring and monitoring it have not been available
to the average person. They have remained in medical laboratories
due to the high cost of the testing and the complexity of
the equipment. While other services, such as pregnancy, blood
pressure and cholesterol tests, have moved from the clinic
into consumer markets, precise body fat analysis has not been
possible in the home.
There has not been a method that is fast, simple, affordable
and accurate. Until Tanita's new series of Body Fat analyzers
Is Tanita a New Company
Tanita is a 75 year old, family owned, $100 million company
based in Tokyo, Japan. Due to ongoing success, Tanita has
opened branch offices in Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong,
and here in Chicago. Tanita possesses over 50% of the market
share of household weighing equipment in Japan. We are committed
to the research and development of products that help people
achieve a healthier life. This commitment can be seen in our
TBF Series Body Fat Analyzer/Scales. We were the first company
to introduce an integrated system of body fat analysis and
precise weighing scale back in 1992. Since then, our efforts
have been focused on constantly improving an already great
How does the scale
measure my body fat
The Tanita TBF Series utilizes a patented "foot to foot" pressure
contact electrode BioElectricImpedance Analysis (BIA) technique.
The BIA technique is based on the principle that the lean
muscular structure which contains virtually all the water
(and conducting electrolytes), provides a good electrical
By inducing a low energy, high frequency electrical signal
(50kHz 800 microamp),
a measurement of the baseline resistance to the flow of electrical
current can be made.
The resistance measurement relates directly to the volume
of the conductor which is used to determine total body water,
fat free mass, and total fat. Impedance, as calculated by
Tanita, is a highly researched proprietary formula combining
both resistance and interactive measurements. These readings
are then calibrated to DEXA in research population studies
(i.e. for Child, Adult, or Athlete).
The impedance measurement and DEXA calibration are then used
to generate an accurate prediction equation or algorithm from
which all the measurement data are empirically derived.
The "foot to foot" pressure contact electrodes employed by
the Tanita TBF Series has made body fat analysis totally objective.
Gone are the issues of electrode placement variation, conductive
jellies, operator error, technical training, embarrassing
caliper pinch tests, exposure to X-rays, time consuming physician
assistance, and inaccurate trending analysis.
How accurate and
reliable is this scale.
Independent research at several major universities (Including
Columbia University in
New York) has confirmed that in clinical settings, the Tanita
Body Fat Analyzer is accurate within +/- 2-3% of the costly
and inconvenient gold standards of body composition analysis
- Hydrostatic Weighing and DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry).
Even though these two methods are considered today's gold
standards, it should be made clear that currently there is
no 100% accurate method (other than an autopsy) to measure
exact percentage of body fat. We at Tanita feel that we've
developed the most convenient method to accurately predict
body composition. The TBF Series is calibrated to both DEXA
and Hydrostatic weighing, which are the current gold standards
of body composition analysis.
The TBF Series will give you accurate, repeatable results
in under one minute