Chances are you’ve heard about the BMI (Body Mass Index) measurement. It’s a common metric used to determine whether someone is overweight or obese. However, it’s a rule of thumb at best.
Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height (in meters) squared. If you want to find your BMI, you can use that formula, or just enter your height and weight into this calculator from the CDC.
Doctors often use your BMI as a rough estimate of the level of fat in your body, but it’s not a foolproof diagnostic tool. It’s typical for an athlete to have a relatively high BMI, but that’s often due to high levels of muscle mass (which weighs more than fat) rather than high levels of body fat.
And even at the same BMI measurement, different people will have different proportions of body fat, depending on age, gender, and even ethnicity.
So while someone’s BMI can sometimes be a useful tool, it’s not as effective as you might think. Fortunately, there are more accurate ways to measure a person’s body fat relative to their weight.
Some of the other ways to measure body fat include underwater weighing, isotope dilution, measuring skinfold thickness with calipers, and a technique called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (or DEXA for short).
We find that a DEXA scan is the most effective way to determine how much body fat and how much muscle our patients have.
A DEXA scan is a quick scan that allows us to identify several aspects of your body’s composition using cutting-edge technology. Rather than relying on a general formula to determine your BMI, we are able to visually identify what proportion of your body composition is fat and what is lean muscle (and in which body regions).
Want to know more about our DEXA scans, or how we can help you improve your overall body composition? Give our office a call. We’d be happy to talk with you!