Sunday, 18 July 2021 14:16

The Withings Body Cardio scale can help keep you healthy and predict vascular age


French health and medical IoT company Withings continues its trend of making health monitoring data accessible to all with its new Body Cardio scale, providing a wealth of insights including your cardiovascular rating - vitally informing your level of risk for disease - with no more effort than standing on a scale.

Like the Withings Sleep Analyser set-and-forget operation, the Body Cardio scale needs you to do nothing more than step on it. Well, you do need to connect the scale to your Wi-Fi network, but after that, you use it like any other scale but with your information recorded and available to you via the Withings Health Mate app.

It's true that what gets measured gets improved and this is as important when it comes to your own health as it is to business.

The scale tells you your weight, of course, but also your weight trend, fat mass, muscle mass, BMI, heart rate, vascular age, body water and bone mass - and if you like, it will also let you know how many steps you’ve taken today and the weather. Each of these items is collected by the scale and recorded and displayed by the scale when you step on it. You have control over which items are displayed and in what order, giving nice visual feedback right away on your gains and losses, and how you compare to the healthy range for your body.

Health Mate integrates with both Apple Health and Google Fit so the data you supply is available across your entire ecosystem of health apps - which is, of course, how the scale knows how many steps you have taken.

The Withings scale actually comes in three options, Body, Body+ and Body Cardio. All three support up to eight individual users and record weight and BMI. The Body+ scale adds body composition, and the Body Cardio at the top end also adds heart rate and pulse wave velocity. This provides a cardiovascular check-up feature that determines your “vascular age,” providing insights into how your arteries compare to the healthy profile for your age and body type. This can proactively inform your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The Body and Body+ scales have up to 18 months of battery life while the Body Cardio’s more advanced features bring this down to 12 months. You recharge the scale via an included USB cable which takes only a few hours. Needing to charge once a year is hardly an imposition for the remarkable amount of data you receive.

The scales are attractive and aesthetic and fit well into any home. They have an easy-to-read screen with a clear font for both numbers and trend graphs.

However, one vital thing to note is the scales are delicate electrical items. You need to be careful not to get them wet. Well, some dampness is tolerated, but the reality is you might like to store your scale somewhere other than the bathroom because they’re far less tolerant of splashes and spills than your regular-old “dumb” scale. iTWire originally took delivery of a Body Cardio scale that performed magnificently for a day, and then not again. After speaking with Withings support, either the button was jammed by an impact or the unit suffered water damage. The button was fine, but I couldn’t understand how it got wet at all. The bathroom had been cleaned that day, but certainly, the scale was not washed or wiped or had anything spilled on it.

There was some to-and-fro with Withings support until I discovered an unknown user weight reading in the Health Mate app shortly before it died. With some questioning - and reassurances nobody was in trouble - it did come to light my 12-year-old daughter had been wandering around in the master bedroom, used the bathroom, and then seeing a new scale decided to try it out. Her feet had water and bleach - heavily diluted bleach - on them and the only conclusion is this amount of liquid was sufficient to damage the scales. The Body Cardio manual does note to clean the scales carefully because it contains sensitive electronics - this is, after all, how it uses the wave pulse velocity to read your body. The lesson here is simply to keep your scales in a safe, dry environment. While you may want, or even expect, your scales to tolerate a child standing on them with wet feet you won’t get scales like this that also bring back a plethora of metrics on your health. But hey, on the positive side, the scales let you know who’s sneaking about your room (presumably searching for their birthday presents …)

With a new, non-wet, scale, my readings have been clear and helpful ever since, and happily, my cardiovascular health is "normal" - though the scales have inspired me to see what I can do to make this even better.

The Withings Body Cardio scale is a tremendous device to support you in your health and wellbeing goals. It’s simple to use, clinically verified, provides results immediately on screen, and with more depth and history within the free companion app.

You can find it online, at JB Hi-Fi, and other stores with an RRP of $249.


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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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