Tyler Barth

iOS developer and UX Designer

Finding Things in Hong Kong: Body Fat Analyzer

| Comments

I was curious about starting a new exercise program in Hong Kong, but first I needed an important tool so I could quantify my progress.

Body fat analyzers are useful if you are starting a new weight loss or exercise program, because weight gain or loss only tells half the story. If you’re trying to gain weight but not paying attention to fat percentage, you might just be getting fatter and not more muscular. Likewise, if your weight loss slow but your body fat percentage goes down, you may still be making a lot of progress.

Though they aren’t as accurate as ones using other methods, the bioelectrical impedance-based models are the cheapest and easiest to use at home. If you take the measurement under the same conditions (especially the amount of water you’ve consumed, for example in the morning after urinating), you can at least expect reasonable accuracy measuring the trend of your body fat percentage. The objective value of the reading is pretty much useless, however, so don’t try to compare readings taken with other methods.

If you’re looking for a body fat analyzer in Hong Kong you might have some difficulty, especially if you’re relying on English language resources only. For whatever reason, if you want a blood pressure monitor you can find it at almost any electronics store, but for a body fat analyzer you’re going to be searching all day to try to find anything.

Fortunately, I did most of the searching already.

I started out with a search on Geoexpat, and went from there. I’ve determined the following possibilities:

  • As spotted on Hong Kong GeoExpat forums, Wing On department store has a number of Tanita scales. You can see the various model’s on Wing On’s website. I can attest that the TST East location had a few models. They sell for around 800 HKD, you can see some of the prices on the website.

I’m not sure about the relative accuracy of the scale type that measure impedance through your feet. They have the advantage that they weigh you at the same time, so you don’t have to input your weight.

  • I found a single scale type of unknown brand at Broadway electronics store in Mong Kok. It was on the top floor and was quite expensive, something like 1200 HKD.

  • I think that various small medical instrument supply stores througout the city may carry lesser known brands with more of the scale-type body fat analyzers. I ran into one such place, Hong Yee Medical Instrument Co., whiile walking along Nathan Road. I think they might have had this model. I don’t remember the price, but I think it was cheaper than the Tanitas. The information for that company is Shop B, G/F, Nathan Tower, NO 518-520, Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong (MTR Exit D). Their number is 3525-0928.

  • The handheld Omron model was very difficult to find. I was told they might be available at some weight-lifting stores or fitness stores. I was also told they used to be sold at Watsons. Finally, a helpful pharmacist at Watsons pointed me to the Sogo electronics section. Only the Causeway Bay Sogo location has it. They sell the HBF-306, which is the most common model. It was 500 HKD, which is about twice the price you’d pay in the US, but I guess that’s what you get for shopping in Hong Kong for something other than luxury watches, electronics, or jade. Further, as Sogo is a Japanese department store this was a Japanese model. There are English instructions, but the display and buttons are in Japanese. It doesn’t interfere with use as long as you memorize a few symbols.

In addition to the handheld models, Sogo had a couple of high end Omron scales, the kind with the extendable hand holds. These kind have six different impedance sensors, so they can give some even fancier readings like different kinds of body fat. I’m not sure if they are any more accurate for total body fat percentage. I wasn’t in the market for these, so I don’t remember the price. They were probably over 800 HKD.

I move around a lot, so I chose the handheld model because I can take it with me. Then I bought a 100 HKD digital scale from Japan Home so I can measure my weight before using the device.

If you’ve seen these sorts of devices anywhere else, please leave a comment.