Withings’ new smart scale measures your nerve and artery health
Withings has a few nifty ideas when it comes to smart scales, and for IFA 2022, it’s announced the Body Comp. What makes the Body Comp stand out is it can assess the health of your arteries and nerves in addition to “normal” body composition. Withings is also introducing a new Health Plus coaching service alongside the scale to help users meet their goals.
Smart scales like the Body Comp all use BIA to send a weak current through your body to determine how much muscle, water, bone, and fat you have. (Though, you should always take these scales’ accuracy and health claims with a grain of salt.) What’s novel here is users can assess their vascular age, visceral fat, and nerve health from a single device. Visceral fat refers to the fat that cushions your organs. It influences the hormones in your body, and too much can mess with your metabolism and heart health. The vascular age metric is based on pulse wave velocity, or how quickly pressure waves move through a blood vessel. It indicates how stiff a person’s arteries are and whether that’s appropriate for their age. People whose vascular age is older than their actual chronological age may have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues down the road.
Visceral fat and vascular age aren’t new for Withings scales, but nerve health is. Withings teased the metric earlier at CES 2022 when it announced its Body Scan scale. (That one had handles and EKG capabilities.) However, the Body Comp is the first Withings scale to actually use the feature. It works by stimulating your feet’s sweat glands. According to Withings, low activity may indicate that small nerve fibers are degenerating.
Metrics are swell, but a boatload of data isn’t helpful without context or guidance — which is why Withings’ new Health Plus service sounds intriguing. Health Plus purportedly unlocks new details and metrics and then suggests behavioral changes users can take to improve their health. For instance, you can log your food, mood, and sleep and write notes about circumstances that may have impacted a specific reading. It also gives users daily plans, suggested workouts, and recipes. Users can then access a series of six-week modules designed to improve activity, sleep, stress management, and nutrition. On top of all that, the service generates weekly reports that can be shared with doctors.
Of course, services tend to come with subscriptions, and this is no exception. For now, the Health Plus service will only be available if you buy the Body Comp scale. The scale’s $209.95 cost also includes a 12-month subscription. After that initial year, Withings spokesperson Emmanuel Abreu told The Verge that renewing a Health Plus subscription will cost $79.95 per year. Abreu also said that Health Plus will also be available on the Body Scan when it launches and will roll out to other compatible devices in the future.
The Body Comp scale will be available on October 4th from Withings’ website.