Raise your hand if your New Year’s resolutions include a vow to exercise more, lose weight, get fit, or achieve some other combination of fitness and health-related goals. You’re not the only one, as evidenced by the crush of people at the gym and the avalanche of health-related commercials that inundate television viewers this time of year. So many of us focus on two primary factors when we choose a fitness-related resolution in January—our weight and what we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror. A body fat analysis could change your entire outlook on your health and what you need to be doing to be your best physical self.
You hear it all the time: “Weight is just a number.” Tests such as our dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) body fat analysis prove this statement is true. Would you be surprised to learn that the super-fit girl next door weighs more than you? Or that your weight isn’t at all out of the ordinary for an Olympic weightlifter? The number on the scale means little to nothing when it comes to assessing your overall fitness and health, and it means even less when it comes to measuring progress. Don’t be fooled by sensationalist television shows or ads touting double or even triple-digit weight loss as a sign of anyone’s life improving.
Use the right tools in your quest for better health. You wouldn’t measure your savings goals in a different currency or your quest to drink less alcohol in the number of bars visited. Everyone who cares about their health should know their body fat percentage to get a true baseline of their health and to be able to accurately assess progress.1
Everyone Can Benefit from Body Fat Analysis Testing
Of course, the fitness and health industries have known for many years that weight is an extremely misleading metric when it comes to measuring health. Muscle has more mass than fat, different people’s bodies carry muscle and fat differently, and “health” is a relative term for most people. What’s unhealthy for one person might be perfectly fine for the next, which is how the measurement of body mass index (BMI) was developed.
However, BMI as a measurement also is flawed. Body fat analysis is the most accurate tool available right now to measure overall health. BMI is simply the ratio of your weight to your height. So many factors are left out of this equation because it does not assess your body composition at all. This can leave heavier, muscular people stuck with “unhealthy” BMIs and put individuals who do not practice good health patterns safely in the “healthy” BMI zone because they simply have the right numbers to fool the equation.2
Our DEXA body fat analysis exam works by using an enhanced version of X-ray technology. The test was originally established to examine bone density and continues to be a highly accurate tool for that purpose. DEXA body fat analysis provides the most accurate measurement because it examines human body composition.
Because body fat analysis benefits everyone, our exams are self-referrals, meaning you don’t need a doctor’s order to get one. Even if you are not planning to become a gym rat or make specific fitness goals this year, it could still be helpful to undergo the analysis, and it could be a crucial tool for your doctors. Body fat percentage can be a critical indicator in determining your risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as other conditions. Analyzing body composition through DEXA exams also has contributed to greater understanding of obesity, the effects of aging, malnutrition and growth patterns than was possible under previous technologies.3
Earlier versions of these exams were less effective on obese people, but new developments have made scanning machines far more effective for people of all body types. We would not hesitate to recommend the exam to patients of all body compositions. DEXA machines can measure deep belly fat that other machines miss, adding that crucial dimension to health assessments. Deep belly fat can be a strong indicator for cardiovascular issues or other conditions, and these scans can assist physicians in developing treatment plans.4
Diagnostic Services for Health and Wellness
Going to a diagnostic services center for tests doesn’t mean that you’re ill or have a condition. Having access to freestanding medical imaging facilities in your community means that you can have a new partner in your overall health experience, and new tools are at your disposal to aid in your journey to a healthier life.
At Reno Diagnostic Centers, our body fat analysis exams are quick, non-invasive, completely painless, and performed in a totally private and comfortable setting. All we ask is that you prepare for your analysis by dressing appropriately and make sure not to schedule your exam within a week of an MRI, CT scan, or any other scan where you received an injection or oral preparation contrast material.
Plenty of things can get in the way of us achieving our goals, and we all know we need to stay strong and focused to achieve them. Don’t derail your fitness and health resolutions by focusing on the wrong number or getting started without all the information you need about your health. Your weight when you stand on that scale is real, certainly, but it’s not the whole story.
Reno Diagnostic Centers has provided the highest level of service and care for our patients in Northern Nevada since 1985. We offer the best high-tech medical imaging equipment and professional expertise, including our self-referral body fat analysis health checks. To learn more about the patient experience and services available at Reno Diagnostic Centers, please contact us.
- “Which Test Should I Trust When Measuring my Body Fat,” Expert Q&A, CNN.com, September 30, 2011, http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/expert.q.a/09/30/body.fat.testing.jampolis. ↩
- “Calculate Your Body Mass Index,” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, accessed January 19, 2016, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm. ↩
- “Bone Densitometry,” RadiologyInfo.org, February 12, 2014, http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dexa. ↩
- Megan P. Rothney, Robert J. Brychta, Emily V Schaefer, Kong Y. Chen and Monica C. Skarulis, “Body Composition Measured by Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Half-Body Scans in Obese Adults,” Obesity, June 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2709755. ↩