Adipometer: How to choose the best in 2021
In this article, we will talk about the adipometer, an instrument used to measure the thickness of the adipose tissue in different regions of the body to calculate the percentage of body fat of the individual.
You find options for all profiles, from the simplest to the most complete. The adipometer can be clinical or scientific and can be read analogically or digitally. Learn more about the instrument in this Buying Guide.
First, the most important
- Professionals who perform many evaluations should buy a scientific adipometer, as the instrument provides results in tenths of millimeters – which increases its accuracy.
- The clinical adipometer is simpler to use as it provides measurements in millimeters. It is ideal for professionals who do not carry out so many evaluations and are looking for a more affordable instrument.
- An analog model has pointers that indicate the measurements, while a digital model provides quick and accurate reading of the individual’s fat percentage, among other functions.
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Different methods are used to assess the body composition of children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. The most used method is the measurement of skinfolds, a technique that requires the use of a clinical or scientific adipometer.
However, one of the great doubts of the health professional is which adipometer to use during the evaluation, as only quality equipment will be able to provide reliable data. Find out the answer in this Buying Guide.
What is an adipometer?
The adipometer is an instrument used in a method called skin fold anthropometry, which consists of measuring the thickness of the adipose tissue at certain points on the body surface to assess body composition.
Adipose tissue is measured in millimeters (clinical adipometer) or tenths of millimeters (scientific adipometer). These measures are placed in equations and the result of the calculations indicates the percentage of body fat.
What are the benefits of using an adipometer?
The adipometer is a very versatile instrument, as it offers several possibilities for measuring the percentage of body fat. This assessment is used for a variety of purposes.
- Assists in monitoring the reduction of body measures in medical or aesthetic treatments.
- Enables the control of children ‘s development and growth.
- It helps to monitor the progress of athletes regarding physical training and enables nutritional interventions.
- It allows to measure the aging process and decrease in motor performance.
Know some advantages of buying an adipometer in the table below:
- The adipometer can be clinical or scientific
- The instrument can be analog or digital
- Comes with accessories
- 12 to 24 months warranty
- It is a relatively expensive instrument
- Reading data from the scientific adipometer is more complex
Who should buy an adipometer?
The purchase and use of the adipometer is indicated for health professionals.
Only professionals have the knowledge to use an adipometer.
They are nutritionists, nutrologists, endocrinologists, physiotherapists, physical trainers and physical education professionals.
Only these professionals have the necessary knowledge to handle the adipometer and perform the measurements correctly.
And even with the right instrument and the necessary knowledge, hardly a person would be able to do the body assessment alone.
How to use an adipometer?
It is not enough to buy the best adipometer available if the evaluation is poorly performed or if the interpretation of the patient’s body composition is performed incorrectly. With that in mind, we have prepared some tips on how to use an adipometer:
Choose a model that is easy to handle. As already mentioned, there are different models of adipometer: Clinical or scientific. Reading data from the scientific adipometer is simpler but the scientific adipometer is more accurate.
Define which evaluation protocol will be used, as reading data is as important as collection. There is a wide variety of formulas used to calculate the percentage of fat indicated for the evaluation of different groups – children, youth, adults and the elderly.
Establish which folds you will measure. You have the following regions as options: subscapular, tricipital, suprailiac, middle axillary, pectoral, bicipital, abdominal, thigh and medial calf. Remember that it is standard to collect the fold measurements on the right side of the body.
Even if you don’t use all measurements to calculate the fat percentage, measuring skinfolds will help you understand how the patient is responding to treatment and measure your progress.
When making the measurement, make sure that the hands are set to zero. Then find the fold with the index and thumb with the left hand, while the right hand holds the instrument.
The measurement should be done in just a few seconds. Remember that the adipometer rods must be perpendicular to the collected fold.
Do you know what the percentage of healthy sizable fat is? For men under 30, this rate varies from 9 to 15%. Men aged 30 to 50 must have 11 to 17% body fat. Over 50, this percentage rises to 12 to 19%.
For women up to 30 years old, the ideal is that the percentage of fat varies from 14 to 21%. From 30 to 50 years of age, this measure varies from 15 to 23% and above 50 years of age it rises to 16 to 25%.
Is the adipometer better than a bioimpedance scale?
Many instruments can be used in body evaluation in addition to the adipometer, one of which is the bioimpedance scale.
In this method, a measuring device (which can be integrated into the scale or held with the hands) releases an electrical current that uses impedance to calculate the patient’s body fat percentage.
Some factors influence the results of the evaluation with the bioimpedance scale, such as calibrating the instrument and preparing the patient for the exam – the amount of water present in the body can also influence the results.
It is important to maintain the application of the chosen methodology during all patient consultations, it is the best way for the successful assessment of body composition.
Purchasing criteria: Features to compare adipometer models
The professional must choose the adipometer according to the predictive equations used during the analysis of the body composition, as the results of the assessment can be affected by the instrument used – because of the mechanics and precision of the adipometer.
Now that you know how an adipometer works and what equations you will use during the evaluation, find out what criteria you should analyze and compare at the time of purchase:
- Scientific or clinical adipometer
- Analog or digital
We will explain each of these criteria throughout the section. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling us which adipometer was chosen.
Scientific or clinical adipometer
In terms of operation, there are two models of adipometer: Clinical and scientific. The difference between them is the unit of measurement used to assess the percentage of fat in the skin folds.
The scientific adipometer is very accurate, as measurements are indicated by tenths of a millimeter. But that doesn’t mean that the results presented by the clinical adipometer are inaccurate because the unit of measurement is in millimeters, okay?
However, handling the scientific adipometer is more complicated than the clinical adipometer – if the appraiser takes some time to read the value shown on the scientific adipometer display, these values may change.
This device is also heavier and the value of the instrument is considerably higher. Because of these characteristics, scientific adipometer is indicated for professionals who perform many services and have extensive experience in the area.
Still unsure about which instrument to choose? Compare them below:
The adipometer – whether clinical or scientific – can be analog or digital. The difference between these models is the simplicity with which the results are presented on the digital adipometer – in addition there is a stabilization of the measurement on the panel, so that the professional can read calmly.
Another difference between these models is that the digital adipometer offers up to 30 pre-programmed functions that allow a more complete assessment of the data.
Both should always be calibrated to obtain more accurate results – in the case of the digital adipometer, it is recommended to perform the calibration after a certain number of evaluations.
When buying an adipometer, think about your patient’s comfort. Some models have metal tweezers that can hurt or irritate the skin of more sensitive people – especially the delicate skin of the elderly.
However, you will find models with special, ergonomic clamps that result in a less painful measurement for the patient. Also, assess the pressure the clamps exert under the skin and avoid models that are too tight.
Most adipose meter models come with very interesting accessories such as anthropometric measuring tape, demographic pen, BMI disk, bone caliper, digital scale, calibrator, and transport bag.
Some models come with physical assessment software and CD-ROM with videos and photos that teach how to measure skin folds. Accessories make the product more expensive, but the investment is worth it (and it would be more expensive if you decided to buy these instruments separately).
You can find the clinical analog reading radiometer for prices ranging from R $ 120 to R $ 380. The digital reading device costs about R $ 200.
The scientific adipometer is a little more expensive. Analog reading models cost between R $ 700 to R $ 1300, while digital reading models range from R $ 750 to R $ 1000. Keep in mind that this is a working tool, don’t skimp on buying low quality items.
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