Knowing all about your body composition can help you determine the general state of your overall health. Even if you appear to be healthy on the outside and weigh in at a seemingly normal weight on the scale, you may still have an unhealthy or altered body composition.
Body composition is the body’s relative amount of body fat to fat-free mass, the latter of which is made up of your organs, bones, muscle, and body tissue. If your ratio of body fat is much higher than your fat-free mass, then you could be putting yourself at risk for severe health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatigue, cancer, and more.
Although body fat is generally associated with poor health, some fat is actually necessary for overall good health, as it can help protect internal organs, regulate hormones, and provide us with energy. Body fat should typically make up about 5% of total body weight in men and about 12% of total body weight in women.
Factors that can lead to unhealthy body composition
In the United States, more than one-third of all adults are obese and have unhealthy body composition. As obesity rates continue to grow, so will the rates for major diseases and illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
Here are some of the most important factors that can lead to altered body composition:
Lack of exercise and physical activity
Eating large portion sizes and overeating in general
High-fat, high-sugar diet
Lack of whole foods in the diet such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes
Excessive alcohol intake
Benefits of having a healthy body composition
By reducing your overall amount of body fat, you can improve your body composition and overall quality of life, as well as extend your lifespan.
Here are just some of the benefits of having a healthy body composition:
Normal blood pressure level
Improved quality of sleep
Improved mood and self-confidence
Increased energy and endurance throughout the day
Reduced pain in joints, hips, and lower back
Improved blood circulation — leading to lower risk for heart disease
Higher fertility rates and lower risk for pregnancy-related complications
Improved breathing, respiration, and lung function
Improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
Your overall body composition can be determined with a body composition analysis. A body composition scan will not only provide you with a ratio of your body fat vs. fat-free mass, but will also tell you where your problem areas lie so you can make changes to your health right now.
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