A recent study reveals that Amazon Halo’s body fat percentage scanner delivers more reliable results than other body fat percentage scanners – making it a benchmark for those looking for such insights on their bodies.
The Halo body scan is one of the features of the subscription service feature announced in August 2020 and works through smartphone cameras. By accessing the camera, users can take photos of their bodies – soon to be converted into a 3D image. Using machine learning, the tool then calculates the body fat percentage, helping those who
want to acquire more information on their bodies.
According to Diana Thomas, a mathematician who studies body weight regulation at West Point, the tool is quite reliable and offers valuable data as “It gives you more information. If you have a high percent body fat flagged by this, it could be a red flag for you.”
Focusing on 134 participants of varying body types and included 82 women and 52 men, the data in the study was collected from two sources, Massachusetts General Hospital and Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. 81 of the participants were Caucasian, 32 were Black, 9 Asian, 4 Hispanic, 1 American Indian, and 7 multiracial. Using an X-ray technique that shows fat distribution through the body, each of the participants had their body fat percentage calculated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) – a premium standard. Finally, the results were filtered by the Amazon’s system that calculates body fat and a technology called air displacement plethysmography.
Interestingly enough, the study’s results were closer to the DXA’s body fat calculations than the universally used BMI.
“The question now is, can we use this for research and clinical purposes, not just for the consumer out of curiosity. Can we use this as a real medical device to get body shape and size, so that people can use it to make clinical decisions?”, said Steven Heymsfield, a body composition expert at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
To answer this question, more studies, including additional studies including people with different body types will be necessary.