Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA)

What is bioimpedance analysis (BIA)?

The bathroom scale, along with body mass index (BMI) (a height to weight measurement), have long been the standards of evaluation for healthy body weight and mass. The limitations to BMI and body weight, however, are that these measurements don't reflect how much body fat or lean muscle a person has. Excess body fat (adiposity) is at the source of many diseases and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A person can have a healthy weight but have too much body fat (e.g., consider a slim person with a potbelly). Having a healthy body fat to lean muscle balance is foundational to a longer, healthier life.

A more accurate assessment of body composition called bioimpedance analysis (BIA) is available to calculate lean muscle mass and body fat, providing greater insight and more useful information to patients and providers.

What to expect from bioelectrical impedance

Bioelectrical impedance is a painless test performed while you're lying on a treatment couch or standing on the BIA machine. Electrodes (patches that stick to the skin) are placed on one hand and one foot. An electrical current is passed through the electrodes, passing through lean tissue as well as fatty tissue in the body. Lean tissue is more than 70 percent water and thus conducts electricity well while fatty tissue is low in water and doesn't conduct well. Fatty tissue creates "resistance" to the flow of electrical current, and this resistance is what produces the BIA measurement.

A healthy body fat range is 15 to 25 percent of the body for women and 10 to 20 percent of the body for men. Your bioimpedance analysis results can help you and your doctor determine diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, if needed, to move toward a healthy body fat to lean muscle ratio. Bioimpedance analysis is a reliable, clinically proven and useful way to test body composition and guide you toward a healthier life.