Pacific Daily News Reporter, Madison Scott takes a deep dive into the Evolt 360 body scanner and how it is being used to offer in-depth insights into the health of U.S Island Territory Guam’s residents.
Can health be measured using a scale alone? Tamuning’s TakeCare Wellness Center challenges Guam residents to look beyond weight when managing their health, using the insights of the Evolt 360 body composition analyzer. With a not insignificant sense of dread, I visited their Baltej Pavilion location to try it out myself.
First I sat down with Ernest Aquino, the Wellness and Fitness Program lead at TakeCare, to learn more about what exactly I was signing up for.
I wanted to gauge whether or not my personal Evolt 360 report was likely to make me slink into a corner of shame for the rest of the day — and also whether or not I needed to be worried about getting electrocuted. Not to mention figuring out what exactly the Evolt 360 does.
Bio-electrical impedance analysis
“The Evolt 360 is a body composition analyzer that uses body impedance to measure body composition. So, ‘impedance’ meaning it measures resistance using a low frequency and safe electrical current to measure resistance from body fat, and water as well,” Aquino said.
“So if an individual has more body fat compared to muscle and water, then the Evolt 360 will measure more body fat. And vice versa, someone more muscular holds more water, therefore less resistance to the current, reading less body fat, and then of course, more muscle mass.”
Between the image of electrical currents coursing through my body and being handed a report with the words “very resistant,” stamped on it in red ink, Aquino’s words were deepening my dread despite his kind manner and clear expertise. He pressed on with his explanation.
“When you step on the machine, you’ll be able to hold two handles as well as step on the platform. There are metal contacts, and then from there the machine will go ahead and run for different frequencies. … It pretty much reads the frequency from handle to handle, from footplate to footplate in order to measure resistance,” he said.
Safety and accuracy
All I could think about were the jumper cables for my car being attached to my arms and legs, sending electrical currents through me til my fingertips sparked and my hair started smoking.
I tried to seem relaxed when I asked him if my nerves were warranted, and if this machine was safe. He assured me that it was, in fact, extremely safe. According to Aquino, people who are pregnant or use a pacemaker are even eligible to use it with necessary approvals.
“There’s other technologies that aren’t as great that have been used before. So everything from a tape measure to measure girth of the neck, the waist, the hips to estimate body fat, and then also skin calipers. However, those things, it’s really dependent on the user and their expertise compared to something that’s technology based and just uses formulas to get an accurate measurement.”
These methods, like body mass index numbers, are incomplete reads of health. They cannot tell if you’re strong, or discern between lean and fat mass. Despite this, they’ve been used to dole out judgements and left people like me wary of any kind of measurement.
“What everyone uses right now is just body weight. So they get a scale from the store, they step on it, it shows that they’re a certain amount of weight. … However, we all know that everyone’s composition is different, right? If you step on a scale, you’re never going to know how much body fat you have compared to muscle,” Aquino said.
“If you look at a bodybuilder, they’re extremely built. They have a lot of muscle, a little bit of body fat, but based on BMI they’re deemed obese compared to someone that looks skinny but they might have a lot of body fat. And, of course, the man with more muscle would be healthier.”
“So being able to see what your weight is composed of and really cater to the individual to let them know, ‘Yes, you might be an overweight or obese category, but you can see that it’s mostly coming from muscle or you might be a little bit heavier boned.’ As long as body fat is in normal or optimal ranges, then that’s what we’re striving for.”
If there’s a source of information out there taking real stock of what’s going on in our bodies rather than shoving them in stigmatized categories based on their sheer mass, perhaps I could be convinced to put my fears aside and give it a go.
So, I did. After registering on the Evolt Active app, Aquino instructed me to remove my shoes and jewelry, then had me sanitize my feet and hands. Once I stepped on the platform the process took roughly one minute, and I felt precisely nothing during the read. No firework finger tips or smoking hair in sight.
With one fear allayed, my report was printed and Aquino and I sat down together to review. One of the many perks of this process is that it comes with an individual session with a TakeCare employee who will walk users through what their results mean and how it impacts health. The Evolt 360 Body Scan covers a lot of ground — about 40 measurements in total.
“Everything from your weight, your lean body mass … your total body water, how much your bones weigh, how much protein is in your cells and in your muscles. If your fat is subcutaneous, meaning under the skin, or visceral, meaning deep within the torso around vital organs. If the fluid in your body is inside the cell or outside the cell,” Aquino said.
“We can tell you how much lean mass you have in your extremities … how much fat mass you have in each one. And then also a calorie profile could tell you which calories you can consume for whatever goal you have — whether that’s fat loss, muscle gain, or just general optimal health — and how much protein, carbs and fat you should be consuming to meet those goals.”
Knowledge is power
I was pleasantly surprised not only by the numbers of my Evolt 360 report, but also by the empowerment I felt upon leaving TakeCare. Knowing the specifics of how my body was holding up made me more invested in taking good care of it.
I’m not running 10 miles every day, or kickboxing, or anything extreme. But Aquino’s breakdown of my report did inspire me to take a daily multivitamin and add more cardio to my routine.
“It’s really getting people to understand that the body is an amazing thing, right? We look at the scale and we just see a number, and we could either be motivated or deterred from making changes to our health.
“But we’ve had a lot of clients come in that think they’re overweight or unhealthy, and then realize that in a lot of the healthy measurements that we have, they’re actually doing really well and that motivates them to make small improvements to reduce their body fat to get a little bit more active, to eat a little bit better,” Aquino said.
“It’s providing more information rather than some abstract number that people think, ‘If I’m obese then I’m slated to be unhealthy for the rest of my life.’ Everything can be changed, it’s just a little bit of motivation, and of course a support group that you have. So that’s (why) we’re here, not only to give that information, but also to provide the support and the education.”
Republished from https://www.guampdn.com/lifestyle/takecares-evolt-360-offers-in-depth-insights-to-personal-health/article_b147a47e-aedd-11ec-bbab-cf8f6bcedd67.html
First Published: Apr 5, 2022