Frequently Asked Questions
Tanita Body composition monitors – general information
Please note – All Body Fat Monitors and Body Composition Monitors have different features and functions, and will have their own individual differences in the set up methods. They all come with an on-line user manual giving full instructions on how to use them, the measurement results are also given to compare. Please refer to the user manual for full information – this sheet is a general guide only. It is not recommended for anyone with a heart pacemaker to use the monitors.
Can the scale use imperial measurements?
The sales can be used in either metric or imperial measurements (height and weight) by changing the switch on the underside of the monitor. Note: not all the modals have a unit switch.
How do I register each user?
Tanita Body Fat / Body Composition Monitors all have 4-5 memory settings. This is for the personal data needed to make the calculations for each user – height, age, and gender. Before use for the first time, each user will need to program their memory key. To do this start with a blank screen, then press the “SET” button. Use the arrow keys to select the appropriate data, and confirm each selection by pressing the “SET” button. When this is completed the monitor will scroll through the settings to confirm, and then switch off.Once the details are programmed to memory, to use the scale start by either:Pressing the appropriate tap-on memory key OR using the up arrow key to select the memory number and then pressing “SET”. The monitor will scroll through the settings so that you can check them – do not step on until the monitor reads ZERO.
How does the Guest function work?
The guest function is for a one-off use, so that the memory keys do not have to be changed for a guest user. To use the GUEST function, start with a blank screen, then press the guest button. Use the arrow keys to select the appropriate data and confirm each setting by pressing the “SET” button. When this is completed the monitor will scroll through the settings to confirm, and then go to ZERO. Step on as follows to get the readings. Once the readings have cleared from the screen the settings will also be cleared – to re-use the scale it will need to be set up again.
Can I step on with my socks?
No. When the scale reads ZERO, step on WITH BARE FEET. This is necessary to get the electrical impedance reading. The scales may give accurate readings if the user is wearing thin tights, but they may not work at all, or give inaccurate readings if the tights are thicker.
How do I obtain my body composition readings?
To obtain any other body composition readings (depending on the features of the scale), first STEP OFF the scale. Then press the other buttons, in any order, to obtain the readings. Each button will return back to body fat and weight if pressed again. The screen will stay live for one minute from the time the last button was pressed. To keep the screen live whilst talking, continue to press any button repeatedly, there is no limit on the number of times you can press them.
Will the electric current harm me?
The current is perfectly safe. You will not feel it at all. However, if you have an implanted medical device such as a pacemaker, the body fat monitor should not be used. The unit can be safely used during pregnancy, but will not give an accurate reading.
How long do the batteries last?
If the body fat monitor is used 5 times a day, then the batteries should be sufficient to last for a year.
Why are there different readings for male compared with female?
Men are built differently from women. Genetically, men’s bodies are adapted to develop and hold muscle tissue – A woman’s body is designed to hold fat for child bearing. A man who is exactly the same height and weight as a woman will have more muscle mass and less fat mass than she does. (That is why men need more calories in their diet than women.) The calculation that the body composition monitor performs is adjusted to take account of this.
Why are some of the TANITA Body Composition Monitors unsuitable for athletes?
People who do large amounts of aerobic exercise will have different body types to those who don't. Their hydration levels will be different, and the composition of their muscle tissue may differ too. If such individuals use the Standard Adult mode on the Tanita body fat monitor, their reading may well be overestimated. The Athlete mode, included on several of the body fat monitors, takes into account these differences to give a more accurate measurement of body fat % in such individuals
When is the best time to use my body composition monitor?
Your body water levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day and night. Any significant changes in body water may affect your body composition readings; for example, the body tends to be dehydrated after a long night sleep so if you take a reading first thing in the morning your weight will be lower and your body fat percentage higher. Eating large meals, drinking alcohol, menstruation, illness, exercising, and bathing may also cause variations in your hydration levels. To get the most reliable reading it is important to use your Body Composition Monitor at a consistent time of day under consistent conditions. We suggest taking a reading before your evening meal.
What are memory keys?
Memory keys enable you to program in and store your personal details (height, gender, and body type - adult/child/athlete). To use the body fat monitor you need only tap your personalized key with your toe.
How accurate is a Tanita Body Composition Monitor?
The results obtained through Tanita BIA have been shown to be within +/-5% of Underwater Weighing and DEXA (the "gold" standards of body composition analysis.)
I only want to see my weight, how can I see this?
(Not all body composition monitors offer this feature. Look for the weight only icon). If you press the weight only button, it will allow you to measure weight, but will not take body composition readings. Use this button to measure items other than people (eg luggage). Also suitable for anyone who cannot use body composition measurements, such as someone with a heart pacemaker. Press the button and wait before stepping on, the LCD will show 8888 whilst it self-calibrates. When it shows 0000 it is ready to step on.
How do I set up and change my personal data?
Pressing the SET button will allow you to program the scale for the first time, and will also allow you to change the settings. When you press the SET button, the LCD will ask you which memory number you wish to program. At this point do not press the actual memory buttons, instead, use the up or down arrow keys or until the LCD shows the number of the memory button you wish to program. Then press set. You can then continue with the set up routine as described in the instruction manual.
How do I use my personal memory?
Your scale may have personal memory buttons; in which case, press the memory number you want to use. OR, if it does not have personal memory buttons, press the “Memory” button and then press the arrow keys to select the number of the memory you want to use. Press the set button to confirm. After this the LCD will show the current settings. Wait for the LCD to go to 0000 before stepping on to obtain your body composition measurements.
The handgrips also have weight, are they deducted from the measurement?
The handgrips of the segmental scales BC 545N and BC-601 are normally deducted from your weight. We would advise you to follow the instructions in the user manual and hold the handgrips before stepping on the scale. If you step on the scale before its ready (showing 0.0) the weight of the handgrips (500gr) will be included in your total weight..
Which batteries should i use?
Make sure you have not used Duracell Batteries (they are a different shape and sometimes do not make a good contact)
What is the warranty on the scales?
The scales do have a 3 year warranty. You can return the scale to the place of purchase together with the receipt as a proof of purchase. The new RD-953 has 5 years warranty from the date of purchase.
What is the warranty on pedometers?
The pedometers have a 1 year warranty. You can return the pedometer to the place of purchase together with the receipt as a proof of purchase
Can I use my monitor on carpet?
No, please check that you are using it on a firm level surface it will not work on carpet, and typically, if used on carpet it will give a lower than correct weight
I can’t get a reading, what is wrong?
Things that can cause this are: Something on your feet that prevents contact with the electrodes, such as socks or shoes (but very hard skin can have the same effect) A short circuit, which can sometimes be caused due to legs touching each other if you have no clothes on If you step off too soon Implants in your body (not applicable in your case) Damage to the electrodes or wiring in the scale or anything else that causes a break in the circuit.
My body fat is not showing, what is wrong?
If your scale is not showing body fat% readings this is because it is unable to complete an electrical circuit. There is something between your feet and the electrodes (e.g. socks/shoes) Your feet are not correctly touching the electrodes The electrical signal is short-circuiting (e.g., damp thighs touching together) The electrodes have become detached There is an electrical fault inside the scale. (The last two items cannot be repaired.)
I don’t get a reading on my pedometer, what is wrong?
If you hold the pedometer in your hand, and gently shake it, you will feel that inside it has a small weighted rubber ball, about the size of a Maltezer (candy). This ball is designed to bounce as you walk, and each time it bounces, it hits a switch that counts another step. As you move the pedometer in your hand you should feel the ball bouncing, and each time it bounces it should show another step on the screen. If this does not happen it is faulty.
I think my pedometer is overestimating the number of steps, what should I do?
Here are some other reasons why the pedometer might be overestimating the number of steps as you walk. The ball is bouncing more than once for each step you take and this might be because: You have attached the pedometer to clothing that is loose (try attaching in a different place) The shoes you are wearing have bouncy soles, causing a double shock through your leg as you walk (try different shoes) Your gait (style of walking) is "different" (this could be for many different reasons) Try changing the way you walk and see if that makes a difference.
Why do I need to measure fat – ordinary scales are good enough aren’t they?
No. Measuring your weight alone can be misleading. Look at a body builder
Why are Hydration Levels Important?
The TANITA Body Fat Monitor relies on the body's electrical conductivity, which in turn relies on the body's fluid levels. Fat tissue is dehydrated, and therefore resists an electrical signal, whilst muscle tissue is relatively hydrated, and therefore conducts an electrical signal. However factors such as temperature, how much exercise you have done, when you last had a drink, medical conditions (including menstruation), medications, alcohol, caffeine etc. can also affect the hydration level of a person's muscle tissue, which can then affect the body fat reading. The time of day can also affect hydration levels, as well as fluid distribution in the body. It is for this reason that TANITA recommend that readings are most consistent when taken between 6 and 8 pm before eating.
How to get the most out of your results (skewed readings)
An error in the set-up (Male/Female?; Adult/Child/Athlete?; or Height?) Severe dehydration Oedema / Edema (water retention)
Anything that abnormally affects weight
Severe calluses on the heels or soles of the feet Dampness of the feet (e.g. after a bath) or if the skin of the feet is very warm If the foot pads on the body fat monitor are dirty this may interfere with conductivity Do not wear anything on your feet – not even tights – the electrical conductivity is affected Medical implants such as a steel plate in the leg, an artificial hip joint, or breast implants will affect the readings although the body fat monitors are still safe to use with these conditions.
Details of your height, gender, body type and age are programmed into the memories (or guest function) before use. This information, together with an accurate weight reading and your resistance measurement, is processed in a computer chip that uses Tanita’s exclusive equations to calculate your body fat % and body composition. Some monitors include a special equation that has been developed for “athletes” who do more than 10 hours a week of intense exercise, and who have developed denser, heavier muscles tissue. The equations in Tanita’s Body Composition Monitors were developed by Tanita’s worldwide medical advisory board. The same equations are found in Tanita’s Professional Body Composition Analysers used by doctors and fitness professionals in hospitals, medical centres and gyms around the world.
Can everyone use a body fat monitor?
People who have a heart pacemaker should not use a body fat monitor. The signal is very low and is totally safe for everyone else. Because the signal travels through the water in your body, people who have an imbalance of water in their bodies (including pregnant and menstruating women, or people using certain medications) may get fluctuating readings. The Body Fat Monitor uses BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis), which involves sending a very low electrical signal through the body. There is a minute risk that this signal could cause a pacemaker or other implanted medical device to malfunction. It is safe to use during pregnancy but when pregnant, a women's body has different fat stores so you may not get an accurate result.
How much body fat should I have?
The Healthy Range chart below gives an indication of how much fat is right for an average adult. Why are there different readings for male compared with female? Men are built differently from women. Genetically men's bodies are adapted to develop and hold muscle tissue - they are designed to be hunters. A woman's body is designed to hold fat for child bearing. A man who is exactly the same height and weight as a woman, will have more muscle and less fat than she does. (That is why men need more calories in their diet than women.) The calculation that the body fat monitor performs is adjusted to take account of this.
Why should I monitor my body water %?
Water is an essential part of staying healthy. Water is lost continuously during the day through urine, sweat and breath. Even a small reduction in hydration levels can impact on your performance and health, so it's important to keep a check on hydration levels and replace lost fluids. The Total Body Water % function will help you understand how your body changes according to your hydration levels. When you are well hydrated you will see a higher water % and a lower fat %, but when you are dehydrated the fat in your body becomes a bigger % of your total weight.
What is the Visceral Fat Rating?
Visceral Fat (Abdominal Fat) is the fat that surrounds the vital organs on the trunk / stomach area of the body. High Visceral Fat levels increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and type-2 diabetes. 1-12 Low Risk 13-59 High Risk
What is Bone Mineral Mass?
The Bone Mineral Mass feature indicates the estimated weight of bone mineral by statistical calculation based on close correlation with skeleton size and Fat Free Mass.* *(This measurement is not intended as a substitute for more detailed assessments of bone density and / or osteoporosis.)
What is Muscle Mass and Physique Rating?
Tells you the weight of your muscles, then gives you a rating of 1 – 9 to describe your overall physique or body shape as represented on the chart below. These are obtained by examining the balance between the amounts of body fat and muscle in your body.
What is the Athlete Mode?
Research shows that different equations are necessary for males and females, as well as children and adults. When developing its body composition equations, Tanita found that a different equation was needed to maintain accuracy in the elite athletic population. The special equation is necessary to address a change in water to muscle ratio seen in athletes who exercise at intensive rates over long periods of time.
What are the criteria for athlete mode?
The following criteria were selected as a cutoff point for athletes because it was found that individuals meeting this standard also exhibited higher levels of muscle hydration.10 hours or more of intensive cardio-vascular and strength training. Consistent schedule for a minimum of 6 months. Resting heart rate of 60bpm or lower. While the Tanita definition of “Athlete” may not be suitable for general purposes, it does serve as a useful guide to maintain accuracy when measuring body fat.
How does dieting affect the reading from the TANITA body Fat Monitor?
At first you may see a slight rise in body fat percentage as you lose body water in the early stages of a diet. However, keep trying! As you start to burn body fat, the reading will decline in a slow but steady rate to the desired level.