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Tanita Printout- Explanation of Measurements

So now you have your numbers, it’s time to learn what they mean! If you are visiting this page, it means that you’ve met with a Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian or Wellness Professional and had your body composition analyzed on the Tanita SC-331s bioelectrical impedance scale. Below is the explanation that is printed out on your personalized analysis. If you need additional information, or want to know how to set appropriate wellness goals, schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians. If you are interested in ordering meals, please share your BMR with our customer service team, so we can place you on the appropriate calorie level for your goals. Cheers to you and your journey to optimal health!

Fat %:
Fat % is the percentage of your body that is comprised of fat. Body fat is responsible for cushioning joints, protecting organs, regulating body temperature and storing vitamins. You need a healthy level of body fat to live your life to the fullest, but high levels are associated with health risks such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, thyroid disorder, arthritis, sleep apnea, and more. A healthy/desirable body fat percent range based on your age and gender is located in the middle of your Tanita printout. You can also look at the scale below to see where you fall:

Fat Mass:
We can determine your fat mass (pounds of body fat) by multiplying your body fat percent by your weight. You can compare your fat mass to the desirable range also located on your Tanita printout when setting your ideal body fat goals.

Fat free mass, or FFM, is everything in your body that is not fat (muscle, water, bone, connective tissue, etc.). By increasing this mass you lower your body fat percent. You can increase your FFM by gaining muscle mass or improving bone mass through resistance/strength training and weight bearing exercise.

Muscle Mass:
Muscle mass is the number of pounds of muscle you have in your body. The only way to build muscle is with resistance/strength training and proper nutrition.

Total body water, or TBW, is the amount of water you have in your body at the time of your test. Water plays a vital role in a majority of the body’s functions and can be found in every cell, tissue, and organ. We use TBW to determine hydration status.

TBW %:
TBW % is the estimated hydration level at the time of your test. To convert TBW to TBW %, divide TBW by your weight and multiply the result times 100. (TBW/Weight * 100 = TBW%)
Maintaining optimal hydration ensures we are operating at maximum efficiency; you can find your optimal levels in the chart below. Your hydration status fluctuates throughout the day, so use this measurement as a guide and not your absolute. Exercise, extreme temperatures and humidity, alcohol consumption, menstruation, and illness influence hydration levels.

Bone Mass:
Bone mass is an indicator of the amount of bone in your body. This measurement is only a reference point and does not take the place of a bone density test. The elderly, perimenopausal and menopausal women, or those receiving hormone therapy may obtain varying results. Please consult with your physician to learn more. Note: while exercise and calcium intake are related to increases in bone mass, bone structure is unlikely to make noticeable changes in a short period of time.

Basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the amount of energy (calories) that your body needs to survive in a resting state. It is the number of calories that your organs (heart, lungs, etc.) need to function if you remain in bed for 24 hours a day, and what we commonly refer to as “metabolism”. You should never consume less calories per day than your BMR, no matter what your weight goals you have.

The majority of the average person’s caloric intake is used for survival/organ function, but to calculate your total calorie needs, we must also account for the energy you require for your daily functions (getting up and going to work, etc.) and planned exercise. To determine your caloric needs including daily activities, you need to add 15% to your BMR. If you are currently exercising, you need to account for those calories burned during exercise as well.

If weight loss is your goal, you need to create a small caloric deficit (consume less and/or burn more) in order to cue your body to use fat for fuel. A safe rate of weight loss for most people is ½ to 1 pound per week. Anything greater will likely break down muscle as well as fat and permanently decrease your metabolic rate. To lose one pound a week, you need to create a deficit of 500 calories per day, but remember: never consume below your BMR. Twelve hundred calories a day is the minimum number of calories you can safely consume to get all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally and regardless of your BMR, you should never eat less this amount.

Check out the example below for Mary, who has a BMR of 1500.

Metabolic Age:
Metabolic age describes the relationship between your body composition and BMR measurements. Ideally, your metabolic age should be equal to or less than your biological age. You will see your metabolic age decrease as your body composition improves.

Visceral Fat Rating:
Visceral fat is the body fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity. Carrying excess body fat in the abdominal area places you at greater risk for chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. For optimal health, your visceral fat rating should stay under 13. If your visceral fat rating is 13-59, you are at higher risk and should consult with a registered dietitian to help make lifestyle changes.

Body mass index, or BMI, is a standard height to weight ratio used to classify health risks associated with weight gain. BMI can be misleading if your muscle mass is higher than average. Regardless, BMI is an important number to know because your physician and medical insurance companies will use this value to determine your overall weight-related health risk.

Desirable Range:
The information provided in the desirable range box gives ideal ranges for body fat percent and fat mass based on your age and gender. Fat percentages outside these ranges indicate health risks.

Target Box:
Before you step on the Tanita scale, a body fat percent goal (target) must be manually entered. Our wellness professionals use standard targets based on the healthy ranges for your age and gender.

Fat %/BMI :
(-): Underfat – below the healthy body fat range and at risk for health problems
(0): Healthy – within the healthy body fat range for your age/gender
(+): Overfat – above the healthy body fat range and at risk for health problems
(++): Obese – high above the healthy body fat range and at increased risk of obesity-related health problems

Visceral Fate Rating:
Above 13 – health risk is increased

Muscle Mass
(-): Below average muscle mass – increase muscle mass with resistance training and proper nutrition
(0): Average muscle mass
(+): Above average muscle mass

(-): Below average BMR - increase BMR by increasing muscle mass
(0): Average BMR
(+): Above average BMR

Impedance reflects the body’s inherent resistance to an electrical current. Muscle contains water and acts as a conductor of the electrical current. Adipose tissue (fat) does not contain water and acts as a resistor.

More questions? Contact our Customer Service at or (404) 815-7695 to schedule an appointment with a GMM registered dietitian.