Metrology Careers Blog

Careers in measurement science.

Modern Marvels – Health and Fitness 03/08/2011

Filed under: Modern Marvels — admin @ 12:08 pm

090702-N-1783P-003Our standards for health and fitness in the United States continue to rise. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as providing effective medical care when things go “wrong” is all possible as a result of accurate measurement, calibration, and the field of metrology.

Effective treatment of medical health conditions such as obesity relies on the use of measurement technologies including blood pressure monitors, body fat ratio calculators, caloric intake and consumption technologies.  Body fat can be simply defined as the percentage of fat that the body contains. While a certain amount of body fat is essential for normal body function, too much body fat leads to increased risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems. There are many different ways to measure body fat, ranging from fairly high tech to very simple.

Did you know, you are using metrology to find your body fat? The body mass index (BMI) is a better measure of body fat than a standard bathroom scale because it takes into consideration the weight to height ratio. A BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight, 18.5 to 24.9 is normal, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and over 30 is obese. One potential problem with BMI is that it tends to overestimate the body fat of people with a lot of muscle mass, such as Olympic athletes, and tends to underestimate the body fat of people who have lost muscle mass, such as the elderly. Despite these exceptions, however, BMI is considered an accurate assessment of body fat in the majority of people.

No matter which method you use to measure your body fat, normal body fat measurements are generally considered to be 18-30% for women and 15-25% for men. If fat levels fall any lower, there is a lessened ability to cushion organs and store certain vitamins, and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Any higher, and there is a risk of cardiovascular disease.  Triggered by stress, lifestyle and hereditary factors, high blood pressure is a major problem today. It is vital that we use a pressure monitor to have our blood pressure checked from time to time to prevent cardiovascular disease. Breathing, heart rate, weight regulation, body temperature and blood pressure are all regulated subconsciously by Metrology.

Shivering is another function our body employs to regulate body temperature. Our bodies shiver in an effort to keep ourselves warm. Our brain both consciously and subconsciously detects cold simultaneously through different sensory systems, which prompts the body to shiver — the sensory system that prompts the shiver isn’t the same as our conscious detection of cold. Our body attempts to maintain our core temperature of 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F), despite ambient temperature. In an attempt to avoid hypothermia where our body temperature is lowered to dangerous levels, our muscles are prompted to contract and expand quickly, resulting in a shiver. This in turn produces more heat in the skeletal muscles to provide extra warmth to our organs. It does use a lot of energy, and severe shivering is a last resort in an attempt to stay warm. Along with shivering, your teeth may chatter due to tightening jaw muscles.

Avoiding extreme temperature shifts is important in health management. These measurement techniques are established by the science of Metrology and result in ongoing innovations that help keep us healthy.

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