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What are you made of? The BOD POD knows all


4 Star

What are you made of? The BOD POD knows all

Our Review Summary

This story did a fine job of explaining the various ways body composition can be measured and what the measurement means and how it might be used.  But a major shortcoming of the story was that it did not do a good job of providing a critical appraisal of the evidence behind the BOD POD device. Do we really know that it is worthwhile to measure our body fat percentage? At what cost? If it is so beneficial, why doesn’t my health care provider have a BOD POD in the office? What do clinical experts in body composition measurement say about the evidence that the BOD POD is a more useful tool than the body mass index? All unanswered, but important, questions for this story to address.  This may be a case where our star ratings are deceptively high.  


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


The story had a sidebar explaining the cost of Bod Pod testing in Puget Sound locations ranges from $25 – 50.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story indicated one might benefit from the information generated by BOD POD measurement by helping set realistic weight loss goals.  It did not actually provide the reader with any information about whether evidence exists demonstrating that it is of benefit for weight loss or improvement in adiposity-related risks.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


The story indicated that obtaining body composition information could be anxiety or guilt provoking.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story stated that ‘Data suggest the BOD POD is accurate’, it didn’t actually indicate what sort of evidence exists documenting this.  While there may be evidence that the BOD POD is "accurate" the story did not state whether the evidence is solid or controversial. Most importantly, the story did not address the question as to whether there is any quality evidence that knowing your body fat percentage is truly helpful in improving your health. There also wasn’t any evidence presented about how effective it is to measure body fat percentage prior to engaging in a weight loss program in terms of whether it helps people lose weight.   

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story did not engage in overt disease mongering. In fact, it concluded that having the test is "not a good idea if the number will be just one more thing to obsess over or feel guilty about."

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

Both professionals interviewed were from the private commercial sector – one from a center that uses the Bod Pod (hardly an independent voice on the topic) and one who is a book author.  The story would have been enhanced with the inclusion of insight from a clear expert in the field of body composition assessment.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story did a very nice job of running through the various techniques for measuring body composition and even included a link to an online calculator of body mass index (BMI).

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story explained that body composition measurement with the BOD POD is hard to find because there are few locations with the apparatus.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story accurately portrayed the BOD POD as a piece of equipment that had been around for a while.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied largely or solely on a news release. 

Total Score: 6 of 9 Satisfactory


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