You can get on the scale, calculate your BMI, or see how your clothes fit. They all have a place in keeping us fit. However, 48% of women are told they are in a normal range by BMI, but are actually obese by DXA body fat testing!
In the simplest terms a bone densitometry test helps to understand your weight, your body composition and BMI in context with your muscle mass, your fat mass, and your fat distribution.
These measurements need to be interpreted in context with your health, your overall fitness, your personal risks including your genetics and any medications you are taking. This information can help you realistically plan your nutritional management, not just limited to daily calorie intake for either weight loss, and weight maintenance, weight gain, or training; but other nutritional or health recommendations. For instance some of our clients realize they need to add resistance training, address body asymmetries, and monitor the success of their work outs. As we age, loss of muscle, even in the absence of overall body weight changes, can lead to significant fitness, energy, balance, and health impairment.
Body fat % ranges can vary from under 10 percent in well-trained athletes, especially males, to slightly over 50 percent in obese patients. Two to 3 percent of the body’s fat is contained in lipids and fat which are essential structural lipids; the remainder are fat stores, and can be modified. Your test provides you with a graph to compare you to others of your age. This test is the gold standard for body composition measurements, and has a very small error rate from test to test.
Your actual waist measurement is important, however the window we get from the test allows us to accurately measure that mid body weight. We know android or waist fat as being associated with the apple-shaped body that is at greater risk for heart disease. Hormonal, insulin, and metabolic factors can affect this ratio, not just how much weight you are. Once we have the facts want to help you reduce your unhealthy fat and move to a healthier body composition if you are not already at a healthy ratio.
If your ratio is trending up we then want to evaluate whether you are adding fat around your deep organs, called visceral fat, or externally. Those with increased visceral fat over time have much greater risk of heart disease and diabetes.
You study gives you a lot of information. The trends generated by subsequent testing is going to give us exponentially more valuable information for you. Repeat examination will be recommended to you individually, but as a general guideline for health we suggest annually, as part of weight loss the repeat testing should be done every 3-6 months. If you are an athlete focusing on muscle building specific muscles, or in correcting imbalances, you could repeat as soon as a month.