No 3D body scanner or BIA devices can accurately measure visceral fat - here's why:
Non-invasive 3D body scanners, which primarily use technologies like structured light or laser scanning to create a detailed three-dimensional model of the body's surface, are primarily designed to capture external body measurements and shapes. These scanners focus on the external contours and do not have the capability to directly measure internal factors, such as visceral fat.
Visceral fat is the fat stored within the abdominal cavity and around internal organs, and it cannot be assessed accurately using 3D body scanning technology alone. To measure visceral fat, more specialized methods are required. Here are a few common methods for assessing visceral fat:
Imaging Techniques: Techniques like computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can visualize and measure visceral fat. These methods provide detailed cross-sectional images of the abdominal area and allow for precise assessment of visceral fat volume.
- Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA): DXA scans, which are often used for assessing body composition, can provide information about visceral fat. While it's not as accurate as imaging methods like CT or MRI, DXA can still offer valuable insights into visceral fat levels.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA):
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA): BIA is primarily utilized to assess water hydration levels within the body. While some advanced BIA devices claim to provide data on visceral fat, it's worth noting that these claims often come with limitations. Research suggests that BIA is likely less accurate compared to imaging methods for measuring visceral fat (Yamamoto et al., 2017) .
Evidence indicates that BIA's accuracy in estimating visceral fat can be compromised due to factors such as variations in body composition, hydration status, and the method's inherent limitations (Yamamoto et al., 2017) . Therefore, for a more precise assessment of visceral fat levels, alternative methods like imaging techniques or waist circumference measurements are often recommended.
- Yamamoto, S., Kawai, M., & Sekikawa, K. (2017). Evaluation of Visceral Fat by Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis. The Journal of Medical Investigation, 64(3.4), 200-203.
Waist Circumference and Waist-to-Hip Ratio: These simple measurements can serve as indirect indicators of visceral fat. An increased waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio is associated with a higher likelihood of having excess visceral fat.
Fit3D uses this last category in our Body Shape Rating metric which you can read about here. Additionally, we changed the metric to speak to overall wellness and risk factors versus visceral fat levels considering they are very hard to measure with non-invasive technologies.
To accurately assess and monitor visceral fat levels, especially for health-related purposes, individuals should consider using one of the more specialized imagery methods mentioned above.