It is a busy time for all students as the semester comes to an end, but one student has requested to share her recent studies with the entire West Chester community. Glenna Champion, an exercise science major, has done work in the Heath Science Fitness Center (HSFC) for her class to collect data on body composition last semester. The study included the use of a tool called the Bod Pod, an egg-shaped device that one sits in to measure an individual’s body fat to muscle ratio. As a result of its accurate measurements, the Bod Pod is utilized by over 15 NFL teams and several collegiate athletic programs including UCLA and Duke University. By knowing one’s body fat percentage, one can determine what changes need to be made to their individual fitness and nutrition habits in efforts to improve daily living.
So does one just sit in this so called egg and that’s that? Well, the Bod Pod is a chamber that is sealed shut after an individual sits inside. It is then calibrated and the participant’s height, weight, gender and other basic information is entered into the computer. The Bod Pod uses the body density equation, which is density equals mass divided by volume, which determines the participant’s body fat to lean muscle ratio.
Body mass is determined by using a precise electronic scale and the body volume is determined by air displacement and pressure changes that occur inside the sealed chamber. By doing this, similar effects are mimicked as in testing done immersed in water. Obviously, entering the Bod Pod is a more realistic and comfortable way to complete this process. For the most accurate results, participants are encouraged to wear a bathing suit to avoid any air from trapping within clothing and decreasing the amount of surface area. Once this process is completed, the resulted are displayed and printed out.
The entire, completed process takes about five minutes and is a safe and effective way to help find our body fat percentage, help keep one motivated and focused on fitness goals, and accommodates a wide range of people. One does not need to be an athlete to benefit from the Bod Pod. All can benefit from the Bod Pod, right here on West Chester’s campus, for it is located on South Campus, in the Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center.
In support of the Bod Pod, a study was conducted at West Chester University in the fall of 2008, where the Bod Pod and the skinfold caliper method were compared for their accuracy in determining body fat percentage. The skinfold caliper method pinches the skin at specific areas where the calipers then pinch the skin one cm below at a certain angle and then a reading is recorded. The data showed the Bod Pod was more accurate and consistent when reporting percentage of body fat for each subject tested. The use of the Bod Pod also eliminated any concern for common human errors that can arise when using the skinfold caliper method.
The Bod Pod is the most advanced technique for assessing body composition available today and is proven to give the most accurate results. For more information about the Bod Pod or if one is interested in making an appointment to utilize this incredible tool, please contact Dr. Sandra Fowkes Dodek, PhD, ATC at SFowkesgod@wcupa.edu. First time students may utilize the Bod Pod for $15 with a second visit costing $10, and a third $5. Faculty and staff are also welcome to try to Bod Pod for $45 on their first visit, $35 on their second visit, and $25 on their third visit. For general information, one can contact the Health Science Fitness Center at HSFC@wcupa.edu who will be happy to answer any questions and give assistance in any way possible.
Maggie Cosgrove is a third-year student majoring in elementary education with a minor in reading. She can be reached at Mc626229@wcupa.edu.