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Body Composition

ScannerBody composition by DXA is the “gold standard”

Body composition scans with DXA provide precise and accurate data on tissue composition, including lean mass and fat mass. The measurements are fast and non invasive, with the average scan completed in 10 minutes. Scans provide both total body data and regional results, including arms, legs, trunk and android/gynoid regions.
As men age, they tend to develop an increase in abdominal (android) fat. This represents the “apple” shape which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The gynoid region is the hips and upper thighs, where women tend to accumulate fat. The “pear” shape, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, is when android fat is lower in relation to gynoid fat. However, after menopause, women tend to put on abdominal (android) fat, which is in part responsible for the increase in heart disease that occurs after menopause.

Looking beyond the bathroom scale

Accurate measurement of body composition provides valuable information for assessing and monitoring the progress of nutrition and exercise interventions. It looks beyond weight, the traditional body mass index (BMI), impedance devices, fat calipers and even bod pods to accurately determine body fat. DXA is the only method that accurately determines how fat is distributed.
Monitoring weight is, at best, a crude and imprecise way to monitor progress. Impedance scales and hand held devices are fraught with error. Values can vary as much as 5% in a single day based on time of day, hydration, if you are sweaty or damp, etc. Bod pods cannot measure regional fat levels. Skin fold measurements are very inaccurate as well.
Many people lose as much or more muscle than fat when trying to lose weight, especially if resistance training is not part of their routine. DXA can accurately determine the fat and muscle changes that occur with weight loss interventions allowing for modifications in nutrient ratios and exercise routines.

What about athletes?

Accurately monitoring athletes’ body composition is now easier than ever. DXA is the ideal way for all types of athletes – particularly cyclists, triathletes, rowers, as well as other fitness enthusiasts – to assess their training progress. State-of-the-art technology provides valuable information allowing athletes and their trainers to adjust diet and training regimens to achieve the best performance, optimum body fat levels and help prevent muscle loss due to over-training. Trending capability allows direct comparison of total and regional tissue.
For highly trained athletes, even a small change in body composition can significantly affect performance. Some training regimens, especially for endurance athletes, can lead to muscle loss and a decrease in performance. Monitoring fat and muscle mass can shed light on how various training regimens and nutritional interventions impact body composition and performance.