Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle or improve your overall health and fitness level, regularly monitoring physical changes to your body is of the utmost importance. This might be as simple as snapping a few before and after photos of yourself, using a tape measurer to take girth (circumference) measurements, or even just stepping on your bathroom scale for a quick assessment of your weight.
Regardless of the method you choose, tracking something is far better than tracking nothing at all. But, if you’re looking to continuously monitor your physical progress over time and see tangible, meaningfully results, you may want to take things a bit further with routine assessments of other bodily parameters like body composition.
Now, there are many ways to have your body composition tested including dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), air displacement plethysmography (ADP) and hydrostatic weighing. Problem is, these assessments are quite costly, averaging anywhere between $150.00 and $250.00 a pop. Always on the hunt for affordable, practical solutions for the everyday consumer, I just recently tested the iHealth Core body analysis scale.
By incorporating electronic sensors, specialized algorithms, and a customized mobile app (MyVitals) (built for use with either an iOS or Android smartphone device), this product purports to accurately measure numerous basic bodily parameters including: body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, lean mass (muscle and bone mass), body water and visceral fat (by way of a rating).
After having played around with the iHealth Core and many of its components including the MyVitals mobile app, I can certainly attest to its major strengths as well as a few shortcomings.
Let me start by saying that the iHealth Core body analysis scale is a very precise tool for measuring your body weight. Plus, setting up and using the device is super simple!
Once you step on the scale and spot your weight reading, it’s automatically recorded and stored on the secure iHealth Cloud and then available for viewing on the MyVitals mobile app. Utilizing weight and height, your BMI is also computed and accessible on the app along with your general classification based on values published by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As a scientist who specializes in obesity, I’m not a big fan of the BMI, as it’s solely based on the notion that everyone’s body weight is proportional to his or her height. Plus, the BMI doesn’t distinguish fat from fat-free (lean) mass (muscle mass, bone mass, organs, blood and water). While some overweight and obese people are in fact carrying too much body fat, others may simply be leaner or muscular, which isn’t at all a bad thing.
Although convenient, the BMI assessment tool isn’t novel as you can easily use an online calculator or even compute it yourself by way of a simple formula (Weight (kg)/Height (m)2). Still, some might find the automated calculation feature to be useful but it’s just not much of a value-add to me.