This past Tuesday and Wednesday Canisius held an on-campus wellness fair. Several venders from around the Buffalo area set up booths to promote healthy living. Of course, the Health and Human Performance Department had a booth. We presented people with information on preventative health measures, nutritional information, and exercise tips. We even gave out nutritional Luna bars!
As a Graduate Assistant for the department I, along with my fellow colleagues, ran a booth on body composition. Body Composition is the proportion of fat and fat-free mass in the body. Although there are many ways to calculate body composition we used Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) to tell people their body fat percentage.
Muscles, blood, and body tissues with high water content conduct electricity easily. On the other hand, body fat does not store much water and has little electrical conductivity. So, what does this all mean? BIA works by sending a weak electrical current through your body to determine the amount of water in each tissue. The more body fat you have the more resistance/difficulty the current will have as it travels through your body, resulting in a higher body fat percentage.
We chose to use BIA because it is quick, easy, and non-invasive. And don’t worry, the electrical current that runs through your body doesn’t hurt at all, you don’t even feel it. Although BIA is fairly accurate it does have a +/- 3.5 to +/- 5 percent error.
After body fat percentage was calculate we showed people if they were in the low, medium, high, or very high category for their gender and age. Since BIA can be affected by factors such as hydration status and fitness levels, we encouraged people to make an appointment at our facility in Demerly Hall where we have other means of calculating body composition through Skinfolds, the BodPod, and Hydrostatic weighing.
Personally, I thought the wellness fair was really great because we were able to educate people on their current health status, give them tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, and inform them about various places in the community that lend a helping hand. On top of all that it was a great professional experience for me!