What is It ?

DEXA (or DXA) is a medical scanning technology originally developed to measure bone density. It passes a very low dose of dual-energy X-rays through the body to provide a high resolution image and precise measurement of body composition – specifically bone, fat and lean mass (muscle). DEXA is the gold standard for body composition scanning, giving you the most precise reading to the gram of your total body composition. You will also obtain a T score which is a score of your whole body bone density versus a 30 year old adult.

For Body Composition & Health

Beyondphysio in Wilmslow uses the lowest radiation DEXA to give you an accurate report showing precisely how much fat and muscle mass you have so you can set realistic, achievable targets with your exercise program, training and diet. Furthermore our scanner can tell you how much of your fat is surrounding your organs (visceral fat) versus how much is distributed around the rest of your body. Subsequent scans serve to keep you motivated and make the necessary changes to achieve your goal, either in our boutique exercise classes, with your own personal trainer or during a professional training cycle. Our DEXA scans are highly accurate and the results can be used to create plans that reduce body fat and therefore the risk for a variety of conditions from diabetes, hypertension to heart attacks.

What’s Involved

A DEXA scan is quick, painless and non-invasive. You will be instructed to lie flat on a padded table, staying very still, while the scanner passes over you. You can remain fully clothed during the scan, but for best results wear underpants, swim wear, shorts and t-shirt though you may be asked to remove heavy clothing, shoes, jewellery and metal objects. The scan only takes about 5 minutes but the whole process may take up to 15 minutes.

If required we can develop a specialist diet and exercise program to improve your fat distribution and get you on the way to living a healthier happier and longer life.


The following information can be gained from a full body DEXA scan:


A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your LEAN TISSUE (Muscle) Mass

The predicted weight of muscle in your body. As you exercise more, most notably with resistance training your muscle mass increases, which in turn burns more calories.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Bone Mass

The predicted weight of the bone mineral in your body. It has been shown that increased muscle mass through sport activities promotes stronger healthier bones.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Fat % and Fat Mass

Fat mass is the weight of fat in your body. ‘Fat %’ is the proportion of ‘fat’ compared to your ‘total body weight’. Body Fat is essential for maintaining body temperature, cushioning joints and protecting internal organs. However, too much fat and too much fat in the wrong place can damage your health. Reduction of excess levels of body fat has shown to decrease the risk of health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Too little body fat may lead to irregular periods in women and infertility.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Fat Free Mass (FFM)

Fat free Mass is comprised of non-fat components of the human body. Muscle, bone and water are all examples of fat free mass.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index is a standardised ratio of weight to height and is used as a general indicator of heath. BMI is a common general indicator for population studies but has serious limitations when used for individual analysis. Your BMI can be calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in metres).

<18.5 Underweight

18.5 – 24.9 Normal weight

25 – 29.9 Overweight

>30 Obesity

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Fat Mass Index (FMI)

Fat Mass Index (FMI) is your total fat mass divided by your height squared. The strength of your fat mass index is that it is based purely on the absolute amount of fat in your body.

Women 5-9Kg/m2, Men 3-6 kg/m2

Y Schutz, UUG Kyle & C Pichard International Journal of Obesity 26, 953–960(2002)

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Visceral Fat Levels

Visceral fat is located deep in the abdominal area surrounding and protecting the vital organs.

Ensuring you have a low level of visceral fat reduces the risk of certain conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes along with other metabolic disorders.

Basal Metabolic rate (BMR)

Basal Metabolic rate is the daily minimum number of calories your body needs when at total rest.

Increasing muscle mass will speed up your metabolic rate. A person with a high BMR can burn more calories at rest than a person with a low BMR.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Trunk/Limb Fat

This compares the fat mass in your trunk, to the combined amount of fat mass in your arms and legs. As the body is made up of five sections: the arms, the legs & the trunk. They all have different composition values. The internal organs occupy the trunk, therefore, its metabolic characteristics are different from the other parts of the body. A DEXA scan can tell you where your fat is located to give you a better idea of how to manage it.

Tissue Image

This image forms the basis of defining your body’s soft tissue densities. It also divides your body into segments for more detailed analysis of each limb or torso region.

Body composition image

The image is defined by a colour spectrum based on the depiction of soft tissue densities. Cooler colours (blue and greens) represent lean tissue and warmer colours (yellow, orange and reds) represent fat tissue, as shown on the spectrum bar, with deep blue as 100% lean and bright red as 100% fat.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Body Weight & BASAL METABOLIC RATE

Total body weight (Kg) This measurement is the overall weight of your body. It is measured in Kg’s calculated by the DEXA (DXA) machine based on your body’s tissue content. It wil lalso tell you how many calories you require to sustain your current body composition.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You The % Bone in your body

This measurement tells you what portion of your total body weight is made up of your bone mass or skeleton.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You your Total Body % of Lean tissue

This measurement tells you what proportion of your total body weight is made up of your lean muscle mass.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Total Body % Fat

This measurement tells you what proportion of your total body weight is made up of fat.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You How Much Bone You Have

Bone Mineral Content/Height2 (G/M2)

This ratio accounts for your skeletal weight and height. Monitoring this value will help identify changes in bone mass relative to stature.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Fat Mass Ratios

Fat mass ratios provide an impression of how fat is distributed in our bodies. This is an individualised approach to understanding fat distribution relative to our total body composition. This ratio has been shown to be correlated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and overall health.

A DEXA Scan Will Tell You Your Android/Gynoid % Fat Ratio

Android % Android fat is associated with unhealthy visceral fat. It is concentrated in the abdominal region, lends itself to an ‘apple shape’ and can be metabolically active. Ideally, Android % should be less than your Total Body Fat %.

Gynoid % Gynoid fat is concentrated in the hips, upper thighs and buttock. It is not necessarily unhealthy, but it is where excess fat deposits reside and results in a ‘pear shape’.

The Android/Gynoid % Fat ratio compares Android Fat to Gynoid Fat. The ideal ranges are below or equal to 1 for men and below or equal to 0.8 for women.

* subject to availability

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