Having accurate data that shows how much excess fat your child has and where they store it makes it far easier to design an effective diet and exercise plan. Madhu Mathur, MD, MPH, of Lifestyle Medicine Center in Stamford, Connecticut, is a highly-qualified pediatrician and expert in childhood obesity who uses body composition analysis to determine the proportion of fat and lean tissue in your child’s body so she can create the best weight loss plan for them. Call Lifestyle Medicine Center today to arrange a consultation, or book an appointment online.
Body composition analysis measures the amount of fat in your child’s body compared to the lean tissue or fat-free mass. The lean tissue includes:
Lean tissue should represent a higher proportion of body tissue than fat.
Measuring your child’s body composition gives Dr. Mathur valuable insight into the proportion of their body that’s composed of fat. Monitoring body composition during treatment is also a good way of checking on healthy weight loss, as you want to be sure that your child is losing excess fat rather than muscle tissue.
Some fat is important to your child’s health, protecting the internal organs, regulating hormones, and acting as an energy store. It’s a buildup of too much fat that disrupts body composition proportions and leads to health problems.
There are several body composition analysis methods available at Lifestyle Medicine Center, the simplest of which is the skinfold measurement. Using calipers to measure skin depth on different parts of the body is a quick way to measure and monitor the proportion of fat, but it doesn’t have the accuracy of bioelectrical impedance.
Bioelectrical impedance uses a harmless electrical current to measure the proportion of fat, water, and lean tissue in your child’s body. The composition of fat differs from the other tissues, which makes the electrical current respond in a different way. This gives Dr. Mathur a body fat percentage figure for your child, showing what proportion of their body is composed of fat compared to water and other tissues.
There are factors that can affect body composition; for example, as girls mature, they develop more body fat than boys as part of the body’s natural preparation for potential future childbearing. The genes your child inherits also affect how they retain body fat and where.
A combination of a healthy diet and an exercise program is the best way to reduce excess fat and increase muscle mass, and therefore keep your child healthy and strong. However, muscle is heavier than fat, so the bathroom scales might say your child hasn’t lost much weight when a body fat analysis shows their percentage of body fat has in fact dropped and muscle mass increased.
Using the information from body composition analysis combined with other data like metabolic testing, Dr. Mathur can adjust the plan to suit your child and target weight loss healthily and sustainably.
To arrange a discussion about your child’s health and any concerns about their weight and how body composition analysis may aid weight loss, call Lifestyle Medicine Center today, or book an appointment online.