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The DEXA scan: key to healthy weight loss and body composition after 50

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By now you understand that it’s not your weight as much as it is your body fat percentage that is important to your health. Measuring your waist doesn't tell you your fat mass ratio or how it's distributed throughout your body.

Total body composition is a vital health indicator. A body requires fat and muscle. 

Increased body fat is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Low body fat can lead to hormonal imbalances, bone loss, and a weaker immune system.

These factors make knowing your body composition essential. Body composition analysis can also track weight loss or strength training. Body composition indicates weight better than weight alone since it includes the real components of weight:

Android to Gynoid Ratio: Whether fat is stored around your stomach or your hips.

Appendicular Lean Mass to Body Mass Index Ratio (ALM/BMI): Indicates risk for sarcopenia (poor muscle mass).

Appendicular Lean Mass to Height Ratio (ALM/Height2): Arm and leg lean mass in proportion to height.  

Bone Density: Used to predict osteopenia and osteoporosis.  

Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI): The proportion of non-fat body weight (organs, connective tissue) in relation to your height. 

Fat Mass Index (FMI): Body fat independent of lean mass according to size.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): Calories required by the body to maintain its current bulk at rest.

Skeletal Muscle Mass Percentage (% SMM): Total skeletal muscle mass to total mass.

Total Body Fat Percentage (% BF): The percentage of fat in the body.

Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT): Internal abdominal fat surrounding the organs (unlike subcutaneous fat, which is located below the skin).

The DEXA scan: The “Gold Standard”

DEXA / DXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) is widely recognized as one of the most validated and reliable methods for body tissue quantitation. It is more accurate than hydrostatic weighing, bioelectrical impedance, or BMI measurements via skinfold calipers.

The DEXA scan provides an initial body composition evaluation. You will understand how the body changes – that is, how much the lean and fat tissue varies over time, allowing you to track the effects of training and dietary programs.

Body fat data that is precise, accurate, and segmental (regional) can help with a variety of things, including: 

• assisting with training regimens and nutrition planning; and 

• understanding and monitoring health concerns associated to body fat distribution and bone density.

It is considered the “gold standard” of body composition measurement for a reason. The test is quick and painless. Using a low-dose X-ray, it shows where fat is distributed in the body, including limbs, abdomen and hips.

It is the most precise, complete, and consistent method (it includes regional body fat data). You, your doctor, and your trainer can tailor a healthy athletic plan using DEXA scan results and treatment over time.

DEXA sets the baseline for any athletic activity

Partnering with a holistically minded longevity and wellness center such as Because Health will not only provide you with accurate body fat composition data, but can help you translate the data into practical next steps. There is no one-size-fits-all solution how to improve body composition, as every individual is completely different. 

“It's necessary to partner with a patient, “ said Dr. Lars Boman, Medical Director of Because Health, “which is different than a doctor ordering a treatment or prescribing a medication. In the US, we spend the greatest amount of money per capita on healthcare, but we’re among the sickest in the world.” Advocating for a dialogue between patient and doctor about issues that affect longevity, Dr. Boman asks, “How much time is afforded to really understanding the impact of your nutritional choices?” 

“And now they need somebody to explain it all. Tests provide diagnostics that answer the questions, and then we create a personal program for them.”

Learn more about how the DEXA scan works here or make an appointment to have your body composition analyzed at one of Because Health’s Longevity Clubs today.

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