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The best bathroom scales and smart body monitors to track your health

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Bathroom scale and smart body monitor FAQ

 

Dr Jet Khasriya, specialist in bone and mineral biology and GP for doctor-on-demand app GPDQ, shares her advice on how smart scales work.

How do smart bathroom scales work?

“It uses a small, non-harmful electrical impulse to measure impedance in different tissue types. If you step onto a scale with your skin exposed it can give you a rough estimate about your body composition.”

Are bathroom scales accurate?

“The best way to measure body fat or bone density is using old fashioned callipers or more modern methods such as DEXA scanning. These are, however, quite difficult to learn and not readily available to the average consumer. While it’s true that, with the more widely available health scale technology, the exact initial measurement you are given  is not entirely accurate, the ability of the technology to log your readings allows you to see change over time, which in itself is a very reliable metric.”

What are the best bathroom scales available?

“I have personally tried the Withings Body analyser scales. I’ve found them useful because of their WiFi capability and iOS integration, allowing me to record my metrics by just stepping on them every morning. They have helped me keep my fluid intake in check as well as telling me whether my effort in the gym is paying off.”

What else to consider?

“Size is important: make sure the scales you eventually decide on are big and sturdy enough to accommodate you. Nobody wants scales that break after one use.

“Another factor to think about when searching for the best weight scales is their resistance to humidity. Most people keep their scales in the bathroom, and it can get pretty steamy in there. Look around for scales that won’t start malfunctioning when they come into contact with a little extra heat and moisture. In reality, this probably means avoiding bargain basement options.

“Meanwhile, if you have carpeted or uneven floors, you might want to opt for a scale with attachable carpet feet for accuracy.”

Smart body monitors and your diet

According to Dr Daniel Wright, private GP for GPDQ the UK’s first doctor-on-demand app, smart scales can be very sensitive to how much fluid is in your body. “You may want to take into consideration your menstrual cycle and caffeine and alcohol intake. This is difficult to be exact about however, given your daily diet variation and external environment factors.

“Studies comparing these machines with traditional methods did show relatively poor accuracy about body composition, principally due to the above reasons. They will give you a general picture, showing any long-term changes in your body composition. This may keep you incentivised in keeping your health at the forefront of your mind, and may be good for tracking changes with a diet and exercise program.”

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