Stepping into Dalton 319, one might wonder exactly what the strange egg-shaped chamber located in the corner of the room is. The chamber, called a BOD POD, is a tool used to measure body composition, which includes the measurement of body fat and lean body mass.
The BOD POD uses air to determine the body composition of users by measuring the volume of air in the empty chamber and then comparing that to the interior volume after a person is seated inside of the chamber. The amount of air displacement caused by the users body, which is determined by sensors inside of the chamber, provides the user with body volume, which then allows body density to be determined. Once body density is known, the users body composition can be calculated by using equations that relate body density to body fat and lean tissue.
The Winthrop nutrition department purchased the BOD POD in 2000 in order to show its benefits for dietitians and research as well as to measure the effectiveness of diet and exercising by monitoring changes in body fat over time.
In order for the BOD POD to provide accurate readings on a persons’ body composition, the user must be dressed properly. Users of the BOD POD must wear a spandex type swimsuit, compression shorts and a sports bra for women, all of which must have no padding or wiring. Users must also wear a swim cap and remove jewelry, watches and hair accessories while being measured inside of the chamber.
There are also strict rules about what users can do before entering the BOD POD. It is important that users do not eat, drink or exercise for two hours prior to using the BOD POD.
At this time, Winthrop has very limited time and staff to conduct individual assessments using the BOD POD, but Dr. Carlton Bessinger of the nutrition department said that any students interested in having their body fat estimated should consider taking advantage of the Bioelectrical Impedance measurements that are being offered at the Campus Wellness Fair in the West Center on Oct. 24.