What My Results Mean

As you may know, the BMI, which incidentally is listed on your report is used for epidemiological and research purposes, but does not take into account what amount of your body mass is muscle versus fat. The body composition reports total body fat percentage and may be lower than would be expected from just a BMI.

The percent body fat is graphed at the upper right-hand part of the report. There are three lines and two colors of blue. Between the 2 colors of blue is the middle line which is basically the average body fat expected for a given age and sex, but not necessarily ideal. Therefore, if you are below the middle line then your body fat is less than average, whereas if it is above the line, it is higher than average. Any value within the two blue regions would be where 95% of people would be found. Just below the body fat percentage line is the fat mass index. Normal for men are between 3-6, and for women it is 5-9. Values above these would be classified as excess fat. Class 1 obesity for men is 9-12 and for women is 13-17.

Additional information regarding fat, is a measure of the visceral area fat (VAT area) which is the last line under the adipose indices, and measured in cm squared. This is a region of fat around the waist area, but inside the abdomen and surrounding your organs, it is the most harmful to your health. A high value greater than 100 would increase the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and hypertension, and above 160 puts one in the high risk category. This number can lower with weight loss (FAT) and less carbohydrates in the diet.

Another important measure is the muscle mass measurement. These are reported under the section entitled lean indices. The lean to height ratio is a general measure of the total body muscle mass, whereas the appendicular lean to height ratio is a measure more of the muscle mass of the arms and legs. In addition to the ratio, the column under AM is a percentile measure which compares your values to your peers of equal age, sex, and ethnicity. The percentile ranges from 1 to 100. For example, if your percentile was 35, there would be 65 percent of your peers who were greater in that measurement and 34 percent who were less in that measurement. The same explanation of percentile applies to the body fat indices noted in the adipose section.

Additionally, there are specific regions of body fat and lean mass in the table on the left-hand side under the images of your body. This section refers to specific parts of the body. This can be useful particularly in the rehabilitation of an injured arm or leg to determine if, for example, the muscle mass has returned to normal and becomes equal to the other side. Discrepancies between the left and the right side could be related to old injuries, with muscle loss, or joint problems, which have chronically limited muscle activity and movement.

Finally there is a separate page with a graph which reports total bone density. Again, the middle of the 3 lines would be normal bone density for age. This bone density does not replace the bone density determination for osteoporosis diagnosis, but if it is low, it might indicate the need to request a DXA bone density study which will be specific for the spine and hips, and a basis for a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis. In general, the precision of this instrument is within 1%. If any changes are made in your exercise or diet, significant changes can be seen on a follow up test generally in 3-6 months.

At DXA Body Composition NC, we appreciate you using our facility and are happy to answer any additional questions or concerns.