Why is body composition analysis an effective tool for nutritionists and dietitians?
Dietitians are responsible for the development and adjustment of dietary interventions specific to each client’s condition and goals. Successful dietitians must understand their client’s history, lifestyle, and food preferences, as well as any physical limitations or socioeconomic barriers. With the proper tools, these specialists can help clients develop specific, measurable, action-orientated, time sensitive, attainable goals. Tracking progress and adjusting those goals will lead to greater success. The InBody Result Sheet provides nutrition professionals valuable information to better understand the efficacy of interventions and if they need to be adjusted in order to meet those goals.
In 70 seconds, the InBody Test provides easy-to-understand, accurate and objective measurements to evaluate a client’s current body composition as well as monitor the success of dietary interventions. Nutrition professionals can use the InBody to:
- Determine baseline body composition and identify areas needing improvement for optimal health and disease risk reduction
- Assess Basal Metabolic Rate to guide estimated daily nutrient needs for the most effective nutrition programs
- Track changes over time to ensure client progress and success, allowing the client to see changes for improved motivation and accountability
TRACK NUTRITION PRESCRIPTION AND ITS EFFECTS
Basing nutritional intervention off body weight alone brings about a challenge. Comparing skeletal muscle mass (SMM) to body fat mass (BFM) helps to understand body balance and health risk. As dietitians work with patients who are critically ill or suffering from catabolic illnesses, lean body mass (LBM) can be used to determine adequacy of diet and serve as a guideline for determining protein requirements. InBody values are even used to validate other body composition calculations, like in Moonen et al.’s 2022 study which assessed the agreement between LBM calculations and InBody LBM. The authors “strongly advise using baseline” InBody LBM “to guide [protein] dosing if possible.”
Body fat mass is the sum of all the fat in the body including subcutaneous and visceral fat and is important to monitor and tailor dietary patterns to promote decreased disease risk. For example, in a study of elite male endurance runners, authors Jurov, et al in a 2022 study evaluated participants energy availability, its effects on performance, and changes in body composition across a three-stage program. They found that a reduction in energy availability resulted in lower body fat (p = 0.013).
Beyond interventional studies, researchers have used the device to consider socioeconomic factors like patients’ access to nutrition and body composition. Researchers from SUNY Health Sciences lead by Dr. Markell evaluated body fat differences of inner-city Kidney Transplant Recipients in two groups (HIFAT- higher body fat and LOFAT- lower body fat) in a 2022 study. While HIFAT patients had greater visceral fat, there was no difference in skeletal muscle mass. They also found LOFAT may be more related to food scarcity than better dietary habits.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Oftentimes, nutrition professionals use calculations to find BMR, but did you know they skew your patients’ data to the norm? Much like the standard 20-30 kcal/kg recommendation, these estimations are based on population assumptions, not your patients’ personal data. InBody utilizes patients’ body composition data to calculate BMR, which is why it’s trusted in clinical nutrition studies like Rashidmayvan et al (2022) who found that high-antioxidant dietary pattern was independently associated with decreased BMR, fat free mass, and total body water in patients with Metabolic Syndrome.
GREATER GRANULARITY IN YOUR DATA
Skeletal Muscle Mass
Skeletal muscle mass (SMM) is the muscle attached to bone and responsible for human movement (Cleveland Clinic). From sports nutrition dosing to complex dietary interventions in clinical populations, InBody data can help guide nutrition prescription to improve performance enhancement and patient outcomes.
One way SMM has been used to better understand patient health status is shown in Aoyoma et al’s 2022 study where authors recorded recipients’ SMM after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to understand patients’ survivability, finding that pre-treatment SMM was a predictive variable for reduced 2-year survival.
As sports professionals focus on muscle growth and performance enhancement, it’s important to understand how dietary protocols can impact body composition. For example, Huang et al (2022) found that when supplementing whey protein versus placebo, elite track athletes had significant improvements in muscle mass (p = 0.005) and physiological adaptation compared to the control group.
Segmental Lean Analysis
The Segmental Lean Analysis gives information about lean mass in athletes’ arms, trunk, and legs, which is helpful for identifying asymmetries which may contribute to injury risk. The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine published a study that evaluated the impact of creatine supplementation on rehabilitation in adolescent fin swimmers with overuse injury (Juhasz, et al. 2018). After four weeks, both the placebo and creatine supplementation group experienced significant increases in segmental lean mass (p < 0.01), however the latter improved by 5.5% compared to 3.8%.
Beyond sports, lean body mass data is used to better understand and guide clinical populations, like Na et al.’s 2021 study which investigated elderly patients with frailty receiving oral nutritional supplements. Patients in the experimental group had greater mean appendicular skeletal muscle mass improvements (0.2 kg) compared to the control group (-0.1 kg).
As pediatric undernutrition persists, many healthcare professionals are using body composition data to develop effective interventions to improve survivability and quality of life (Sinha et al., 2022). Sinha and team evaluated children, ages 6-59 months, finding an association between severe acute malnutrition and Fat Free Mass and Fat Mass. Nutrition professionals can use greater granularity in patient health data to evaluate or validate interventions to mitigate disease status.
GO BEYOND MUSCLE AND FAT PARAMETERS
Body Water Balance
Human body water makes up 55-65% of an individual’s weight and can be further compartmentalized as extracellular (ECW, interstitial fluid) and intracellular water (ICW, muscle mass fluid). ECW plays a vital role in moving nutrients and waste into and out of the cells. The ECW/TBW ratio is a tool to monitor the balance between body water compartments. Generally, if there is any type of inflammation or water retention, body water accumulates in the extracellular space causing the ECW/TBW ratio to increase. Injuries, disease, aging, high sodium diets, low muscle mass, and a variety of other factors may cause the ECW/TBW to increase (Park et al., 2021). Establishing a baseline ECW/TBW and monitoring for large changes can be a critical piece in patient assessment and the development of effective interventions.
Sports professionals use the InBody body water data to better understand their athletes, such as in a study by Okano et al (2022) who found the combined effects of body fat ratio (p = 0.001), body water content (p = 0.035), and skeletal muscle mass index on peak salivary lactate levels was 31.2%.
Dietitians working with eating disorder patients might concern themselves with muscle, fat, and BMR data, but what about water? In a Journal published by Mediators of Inflammation, authors evaluated cytokines and body water distribution of patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) (Himmerich, et al., 2021). Compared to the healthy control group, patients with AN had significantly lower total water volume including both ICW and ECW, finding interactions between body water and the cytokine system.
By tracking phase angle, dietitians can better assess their patients’ nutrition status by monitoring the cellular health for early detection of symptoms/disease progression and thus earlier nutrition interventions.
Phase angle, a measure of how the cells respond to the electrical currents used to measure body composition, reflects cell membrane integrity and has been linked to malnutrition. When cells are healthy, they can better resist these currents utilized by the InBody, resulting in a higher phase angle and improved nutrition status. In the case of COVID-19 patients, Galluzzo et al (2022) evaluated the impact of a nutritional supplement on their fatigue, finding significant improvements in muscle strength, physical performance, and phase angle (p=0.016) after intervention.