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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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U houses new machine to measure body fat

Last fall the U spent $38,000 on a Bod-Pod Body Composition system, a machine that lets U students and people from the community get a more accurate picture of their health.

“Only by accurately measuring body composition will you learn the amount of fat and lean tissue that makes up your weight,” said Tracy Thompson, of the department of exercise and sport science.

The Bod-Pod replaces older methods of fat percentage testing such as hydrostatic weighing, where participants are required to submerge themselves in a tank of water to measure how much water they displace.

To get their body fat percentage measured, participants step into the Bod-Pod, a capsule that resembles a giant blue egg, and sit for about 10 minutes while computerized pressure sensors measure how much air the person’s body displaces. Using the information from the Bod-Pod and a person’s weight from a regular scale, Thompson can calculate body fat and lean muscle mass..

Because the Bod-Pod tells a person exactly how much fat they have, participants can then use the information to “make sensible decisions regarding nutrition and exercise programs,” Thompson said.

She recommends using body fat percentage systems like the Bod-Pod because “body weight alone can be very misleading. The scale cannot tell the difference between a pound of fat and a pound of muscle.”

The U is trying to pay back the money it spent on the Bod-Pod by having charging $20 for a test.

Many people will come measure their body-fat percentage before they start an exercise program, and they’ll come back and measure it again when they’re done, she said.

To prepare for a Bod-Pod test participants cannot eat, drink or exercise in the three hours prior to the test. Participants must also wear appropriate clothing.

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