Obesity

Total Body Fat Analysis with DXA:
Obesity continues to be an epidemic in the United States. As surprising as it may sound, someone can have a normal weight but actually have so much body fat that he/she is diagnosed as obese, a situation known as normal weight obesity. Normal weight obesity means that you may have muscle mass replaced by fat, posing the same serious health risks as does someone who is visually obese.

A formula called body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether you’re at a healthy weight for your height. But BMI doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t measure body fat. So you may have a normal BMI while your body fat percentage is dangerously high. Obesity is actually defined as having an excessive amount of body fat- not weighing too much.

Researchers are still trying to determine what percentage of body fat counts as obesity when your weight is normal, and whether guidelines should be different depending on your age and sex. Some researchers have said that for women body fat should be less than 30 percent and for men less than 20 or 25 percent. Anything over that would be considered normal weight obesity. So, if you’re a woman who is 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 meters) tall and you weigh 140 pounds (63.5 kilograms), you would have a normal BMI of 23.3. But if 42 of those pounds (19 kilograms) are fat- 30 percent- you would have normal weight obesity. If you’re a man who is 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 meters) tall and you weigh 160 pounds (72.6 kilograms), you would have a normal BMI of 23.6. But if 40 of those pounds (18 kilograms) are fat- 25 percent- you would have normal weight obesity.

Like obesity, normal weight obesity may increase your risk of serious health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome

If you’re concerned about your body fat percentage, a total body fat analysis using DXA is the most accurate method.