I made a decision to report constant physique fats measurements for myself and a buddy utilizing the Halo, a Fitbit lavatory scale and a extremely rated pores and skin caliper. In November and December, I took early-morning measurements with the Halo and loo scale; my spouse pinched my pores and skin folds in 4 areas with the caliper. I measured my take a look at topic’s physique fats as soon as with every gadget.
Our outcomes had been remarkably comparable for 2 males with very totally different physique compositions:
The Amazon product estimated that my buddy, a 6-foot-Three man weighing 198 kilos, had 24 p.c physique fats, the Fitbit scale learn 19 p.c, and the skin-fold measurements added as much as 20 p.c.
For myself — 5-foot-6 and about 140 kilos — the Halo stated in November that I had 25 p.c physique fats, the Fitbit scale stated 19 p.c, and the skin-fold measurements added as much as 20 p.c. In December, the Halo stated I had 26 p.c physique fats (alas, I had extra Thanksgiving leftovers than typical), the Fitbit scale stated 20 p.c, and the skin-fold measurements added as much as 21 p.c.
Dr. Cheskin speculated that the Halo may need an overestimating bias in its algorithm as a result of underestimating physique fats for an overweight individual can be extra problematic.
Dr. Maulik Majmudar, Amazon’s medical officer, who labored on the Halo, stated folks ought to anticipate the gadget’s outcomes to be totally different as a result of the strategy was extra correct than physique fats scales and calipers.
Amazon developed its body-measuring algorithm from a pattern set of tens of hundreds of photographs of individuals’s our bodies from throughout a variety of demographics, he stated. Amazon then did inner checks measuring folks’s physique fats utilizing the Halo scanner, good lavatory scales and DEXA, a method that makes use of X-rays to scan for bone density, which research have discovered to be a dependable measure for physique fats. It discovered that the Halo methodology was twice as correct as lavatory scales.
Nonetheless, Dr. Cheskin was unconvinced by Amazon’s accuracy claims. He stated a sound examine would contain a scientific trial measuring physique fats of many human topics with every methodology — the Halo, DEXA, bioelectrical impedance scales and calipers — and evaluating the outcomes facet by facet.
Correct or not, probably the most disappointing a part of Amazon’s physique fats evaluation was that it lacked necessary context. Regardless that the app requested for my ethnicity, age and intercourse, it stated my 25 p.c physique fats stage was too excessive and properly outdoors the “Wholesome” zone (roughly 12 to 18 p.c). It additionally stated wholesome outcomes had been related to longer life and decrease dangers of coronary heart illness.
Dr. Cheskin provided a extra nuanced evaluation. Physique fats ranges might have totally different well being implications relying in your age, ethnicity, intercourse, levels of cholesterol and household historical past. Waist circumference issues, too, as a result of extreme belly fats may be related to well being issues.