BCOM - British College of Osteopathic Medicine


BCOM's Student Extranet


What is it?

The BODPOD is a state-of-the-art method for accurately and precisely measuring body composition (what your body is made up of), specifically the proportion of fat to lean tissue in the body. This is one of the most accurate ways of measuring and tracking weight-related health and forms a basis for sound advice on optimum nutrition and health. The results of this test can be used to compare results over time e.g. before and after a weight loss regime or training schedule.

Currently there are only a handful of teaching institutions in the UK where this methodology is available for student and institutional research. In addition, BCOM is one of only a few national institutions that can offer this measurement of body composition to outside institutions and groups.

What does the test involve?

To achieve a standardised measurement, we require that the subject is fasted before the measurement. This means nothing to eat for 4 hours prior to testing.

The machine calculates body composition by accurately measuring the volume of the body. For an accurate outcome the subject has to be in swimwear during the measurement. 

The test itself involves measurements of height and weight, followed by the subject sitting inside a closed chamber for two sessions of 50 seconds. Inside the chamber the subject does not have to do anything apart from sit still and breath normally. The test takes approximately 10 minutes and 2 complete tests per person are undertaken for reliability. The total time needed for complete testing is 25-30 minutes.

At the end of the test, the BODPOD calculates the fat mass and fat-free mass (lean tissue) and a printout of the results is obtained.

Research using the BODPOD

Current research using the BODPOD to assess body composition changes as a result of weight loss regimes has been completed; for example, one study investigated the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet (the South Beach diet). Other studies using this methodology include assessing the reliability of measurements and changes on body composition during the menstrual cycle. Also, body composition measurement have been incorporated into various other research projects. Some of these studies have culminated in published papers in peer reviewed journals.

Further information

If you wish to find out more about the BODPOD and other nutritional assessments at BCOM, or would be interested in having your body composition measured please contact the Research Department.



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