January 31, 2023

Modern smartwatches come with an extensive set of health monitoring features. The likes of Samsung‘s Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 let users measure their body composition right from their wrists. Bioelectric Impedance Analysis or BIA, as the metric is called, gives an analysis of the muscle, fat, and water composition of your body. But how accurate are these smartwatch measurements? A research report reveals that wrist-worn devices can measure your body composition almost as accurately as conventional laboratory equipment.

Researchers from Louisiana State University, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center performed a study to find out if BIA readings from smartwatches are reliable. They carried out a test with 109 participants, though only 75 completed the full manufacturer-recommended protocol. The study compared BIA readings from smartwatches with those from laboratory-grade octapolar bioelectrical impedance analysis (8-BIA) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans. And the results didn’t show any significant deviation.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research report states that BIA reading from smartwatches had about 98 percent correlation with those from conventional methods (via). “After systematic correction, smart-watch BIA devices are capable of stable, reliable, and accurate body composition measurements, with precision comparable to but lower than that of laboratory measures,” the researchers concluded. “These devices allow for measurement in environments not accessible to laboratory systems, such as homes, training centers, and geographically remote locations.”

Samsung Galaxy Watch body composition measurements

Smartwatch body composition readings are helping people adopt healthier lifestyles

The BIA report on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch models offers several key statistics. You get to see the composition of skeletal muscle, fat mass, body fat, BMI (Body Mass Index), body water, BMR (basal metabolic rate), and more on your body. This study found that having easy access to these health metrics encouraged users to adopt healthier lifestyles. Users could get a better understanding of their behavior and learn how to improve it.

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According to the report, nearly 60 percent of users participating in this study increased their physical activity. They increased their daily steps by more than 2,500 to get fitter. Smartwatches also helped reduce their sedentary time by an average of 68 minutes. All of this was enabled by having health metrics readily accessible on their wrists. They could determine how they can improve their health and work on it.

Meanwhile, if you’re using a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or Galaxy Watch 5, you can check out the video below for a tutorial on how to measure your body composition. The company recommends taking the measurement at the same time of the day and on an empty stomach. Ladies should avoid measuring their body composition during the menstrual period.