Why is body composition analysis an
important tool in corporate wellness?
Disclaimer: InBody devices should be used as an adjunct tool for clinical decision making and are not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases.
As the obesity epidemic continues to rise, premature mortality has increased. Research has shown that almost 3 million quality-adjusted life years are lost each year in the U.S. as a result of obesity and its associated comorbidities. With increasing obesity rates, there is also an increase in annual costs of obesity-related absenteeism, collectively amounting to billions of dollars’ worth of lost productivity. These costs will continue to grow as employee physical activity levels decline and convenient and abundant foods are increasingly common, further augmenting an already costly obesity epidemic.
Corporate wellness programs can be an effective method to combat the obesity epidemic in the workplace. Research examining exercise intervention and wellness indicated that 10 weeks of exercise can mitigate psychological distress while increasing activity and work hours. Healthcare and absenteeism costs have been shown to fall by roughly $5 for every dollar spent on corporate wellness. This kind of return on investment showcases the need for adoption of corporate wellness into the workplace. Furthermore, wellness programs for employee health improvement have been recommended by institutions like the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as multiple state governments.
A wellness program requires thorough planning and can have a wide range of costs, depending on the services provided to employees. InBody provides a convenient and affordable alternative to outsourcing services for assessing employee health and wellness. With InBody as a screening tool, employees will get a detailed report on their health, allowing them to develop a better understanding of potential risk factors. With this awareness, employees can then be advised to make changes to improve their health. In turn, this can improve efficiency and the overall work environment and reduce healthcare costs for the company as well as absenteeism due to health-related time off, increasing company productivity and revenue.
In less than 60 seconds, the InBody Test provides easy-to-understand, accurate and objective measurements to evaluate changes in body composition. The InBody can be used to:
- Screen and educate employees about health
- Receive a comprehensive assessment of body composition to better evaluate employees’ health status
- Set the foundation for designing an individualized and effective action plan for each employee
- Provide a convenient, accessible method to allow employees to track changes throughout their wellness program.
Baicker, K., Cutler, D., & Song, Z. (2010). Workplace wellness programs can generate savings. Health affairs, 29(2), 304-311.
Thomson, J. L., Goodman, M. H., Landry, A. S., Donoghue, A., Chandler, A., & Bilderback, R. (2018). Feasibility of Online Nutrition Education in the Workplace: Working Toward Healthy Lifestyles. Journal of nutrition education and behavior.
Takechi, S., Kikuchi, T., Horisawa, S., Nakagawa, A., Yoshimura, K., & Mimura, M. (2015). Effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral therapy-based exercise program for healthy employees. Advances in Physical Education, 5(04), 263.
BODY COMPOSITION HISTORY CHART
Provide convenient and accessible wellness programs that track progress
Traditional corporate wellness programs bring in a group of health professionals or other specialists for health screenings. This allows participants to receive a variety of health evaluations and consultations to set goals for the coming months in the program. However, without appropriate resources, employees have no way of knowing if they have made progress or tracking changes and may become disheartened. Additionally, employees may misplace the health information that was originally provided, leaving them with no reference for progress. Moreover, some wellness programs may be mobile services or scheduled during the work day, limiting accessibility for certain employees depending on their schedule.
InBody is a small, user-friendly piece of equipment that can be kept on-site for employee convenience. The device guides employees through testing without the need for a test administrator, allowing employees to test multiple times throughout their program and track changes on their own on a regular basis. The test itself lasts 60 seconds enabling workers to test on breaks, before their shift, or at the end of the day. Finally, the easy-to-understand result sheets allow employees to gauge progress after their initial consultation. InBody also provides online resources to assist in employee education and interpretation in cases where staff is limited, allowing the employee to take control of their own direction.
Once and accessibility offers wellness program participants a way to engage and compare their results to others while also monitoring their own progress. In doing so, employees are provided with a means to understand their health and take their own initiative, leading to better outcomes for both employee and company.
PERCENT BODY FAT AND VISCERAL FAT
Provide accurate results and effectively identify potential health risk in employees
Screening is an important part of wellness programs and provides a baseline assessment of employees’ health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple ratio of weight to height2 that is often used to assess health and health risk. While charts providing standard BMI cutoffs are readily available and widely used, health evaluations solely based on BMI should be considered with caution. This is because BMI does not distinguish between fat mass and lean mass; instead, it relies on weight as a measure of health, regardless of what that weight is comprised of. Therefore, it is possible for individuals to receive misguided information about their true state of health. Body composition, however, describes the physical components that comprise the body, allowing the distinction of water, lean and fat mass that make up an individual’s weight to be assessed to determine health risk.
Body composition can be measured noninvasively by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). BIA has many advantages over BMI for determining fatness and health risk in a corporate wellness setting because it is portable, easily performed, reproducible, and a more reliable method for health screenings. An in-depth body composition report allows for accurate evaluation and interpretation of the amount of fat gained and muscle lost from unhealthy lifestyles common in traditional work environments. Such changes generally lead to a rise in percent body fat (PBF), which increases the risk for development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and even certain cancers.
In addition to PBF, InBody provides information on visceral fat. Visceral fat, which surrounds the intra-abdominal organs, has been associated with a multiplicity of metabolic abnormalities, including insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, and other indicators of cardiometabolic risk. An understanding of the amount of overall fat mass and the ability to identify visceral fat levels will provide employees with the tools they need to make proactive health decisions.
InBody results sheets offer a way to educate clients on their health in ways not achievable with a simple BMI calculation. While most employees understand the association of fat mass with poor health outcomes, InBody can help bridge the gap between understanding the importance of fat-free mass and the balance of muscle and fat in the body for optimal health. By utilizing InBody in a corporate wellness program, wellness staff members will be able to provide accurate results and effectively identify potential health risk in employees.
SEGMENTAL LEAN MASS
Guide wellness plans and ensure alignment with personal goals
Corporate wellness programs often include some form of biometric testing, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, or BMI, to determine an employee’s health status. While a great start to identifying health risk, these do not provide a detailed indication of where an employee should start making changes in their wellness journey. Health Risk Assessment (HRA) questionnaires are also commonly used; however, the general consensus is that administering questionnaires alone is not enough to initiate significant changes in overall health profile. Experts recommend that all HRA’s be followed by specific risk-factor counseling and opportunities for participation in health promotion interventions. General encouragement from company programs to “get healthy” based on these metrics lacks impetus for creating lasting lifestyle changes in employees. Thus, tailoring programs on an individual basis are necessary for elevating wellness services to the next level and ensuring the effectiveness of the program.
With InBody result sheets, appropriate health interventions can be designed for each employee to maximize progress and achievement of goals. A comprehensive report on body composition allows wellness coaches and coordinators to target specific problem areas that increase health risk in order to streamline the healthcare approach as well as produce long-term healthcare savings for the company. It can be discouraging to hear about health risks, especially when not concurrently equipped with the knowledge to improve one’s health status. InBody is a versatile tool for guiding wellness plans and ensuring alignment with personal goals. InBody’s in-depth breakdown of body composition offers wellness professionals a way to not only evaluate muscle and fat balance in clients but also identify segmental distribution of lean mass.
Importantly, muscular imbalances, which increase risk of injury or falls, can be identified and improved through a tailored corrective exercise intervention. In addition, skeletal muscle mass, especially in the lower limbs, negatively contributes to visceral fat; maintaining leg lean mass through daily activity may improve and control visceral obesity as well as decrease risk for metabolic syndrome and other obesity-related disorders. By measuring body composition and setting goals with employees, wellness faculty can effectively identify and address health risks to promote long-term improvement, leading to a more successful program as well as return on investment for the company.
Encourage employee participation and reduce program dropout rates
Many companies struggle with corporate wellness recruitment and program adherence. While a new program may initially attract interest, participation tends to taper off over time. Wellness programs, especially with the aim of creating long-term changes, can benefit from an educational and motivating visual aid, such as an InBody report. InBody provides accurate measures of body water, lean mass, and fat mass and is sensitive to individual changes, allowing effective monitoring of progress. Baseline measurements at the start of a program or intervention can be used not only as a health risk assessment tool but also to motivate employees to begin making positive lifestyle changes. Throughout an intervention, employees can observe and compare changes to their baseline. Similarly, visualizing and objectively tracking progress can help maintain engagement and motivation, and programs can be modified based on individual data to achieve higher success and engagement. Additionally, an InBody consultation can elucidate minor weight changes in individuals who may be positively altering body composition with little to no change in weight. Well-designed wellness programs incorporate assessments, education, a plan of action, and execution of the plan in order to maximize success. InBody can be incorporated into each aspect of the program to ensure continued interest and higher retention rates.
Various strategies should be implemented to encourage participation and reduce dropout rates, especially in employees with increased health risk, to maximize the benefits of providing corporate wellness services. One effective strategy is rewarding progress. Competitions, like the InBody Challenge, can help build a sense of camaraderie among employees and stimulate engagement, and positive changes can be rewarded with prizes. However, in such cases, a metric of health must be used to evaluate success and identify a winner. The InBody report can be used to compare progress made by employees from their personal baselines and objectively assess improvements in body composition.
Why do corporate wellness programs trust InBody?
All InBody professional body composition analyzers rely on four pillars of technology to deliver quick, accurate and precise results. These pillars allow you to trust that the results reflect your patients’ true health from the inside out.
Direct Segmental Measurement (DSM)
Direct Segmental Measurement (DSM) measures water, muscle mass and fat mass in the five body segments: right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg and trunk. By measuring each segment of the body separately, InBody provides an in-depth analysis of the patient’s muscle-fat and fluid balance in each segment independently. Identifying the patient’s lean and fat distribution allows a better assessment of associated health risks while segmental ECW/TBW can be used to identify systemic or localized inflammation resulting from injury, underlying health conditions or surgical complications.
InBody devices utilize multiple frequencies to measure body water more accurately than commonly-used methods such as weight changes or pitting edema scores. These high and low frequencies measure both intracellular and extracellular water, producing precise measures of each body water compartment. With accurate fluid measures, InBody can be used to identify fluid imbalances or water retention stemming from inflammation or injury as well as monitor changes resulting from exercise interventions and recovery.
8 Point Tactile Electrodes
InBody uses an 8-Point Tactile Electrode system to ensure that measurements always start in the same place, test after test. This technology creates precise and reproducible results, ensuring that the results obtained are a direct outcome of clinical recommendations and interventions, rather than error.
No Empirical Estimations
InBody does not rely on empirical estimations based on age, gender or ethnicity to predict results. With the high level of accuracy and precision achieved with the aforementioned technological advancements, InBody removes population-associated assumptions when determining body composition to ensure results are based solely on the individual, increasing sensitivity to the individual’s unique makeup of muscle and fat, enabling effective tracking of changes.