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A new tool for optimizing wellness

Last Modified: 9/11/2018

What if a simple scan could lend invaluable insight for altering your dietary or fitness habits to achieve your wellness goals? DEXA® technology could deliver the information you’re missing. Samantha Kauffman, MA, RD, CD, sports dietitian, Parkview Sports Medicine, answers our questions about this powerful tool for those seeking to improve their health or athletic performance.

Who can benefit from DEXA

Athletes looking to improve their performance as well as individuals looking to modify their body composition could benefit from the information provided by a scan. “Really, anyone making changes that will affect their body composition (weight loss, muscle gain), is rehabbing from an injury or has concerns about muscle imbalance or risk for injury.”

Assessing body composition over time can also be valuable to individuals managing many conditions, including those where body fat or distribution of body fat is a risk factor. Some of these conditions include clinical obesity, eating disorders or diabetes.

How does it work?

A DEXA scan is a quick, non-invasive way to accurately and reliably measure total body fat and total muscle mass. The simple test provides a comprehensive snapshot of your exact breakdown of bone, fat tissue and lean muscle mass, detailing the information by distribution throughout the body. Your resting metabolic rate – the rate at which you burn calories while at rest – is also reported.

“DEXA works by sending two low-dose X-rays, which are absorbed differently by bones and soft tissues. This density profile is used to calculate bone mineral density and body composition. The amount of radiation is very low, about 10 percent of a normal chest X-ray.”

This precise body composition test goes far beyond the scale, tape measure and potentially misleading BMI calculations.

Body composition

“DEXAs can be used to measure bone mineral density and distinguish between fat and other body tissues.”

Having lean mass is important for athletes and non-athletes alike, and small changes in body composition can benefit even the healthiest individual.

What you can expect during the scan

Fasting prior to the scan is preferred. You should also try to be well hydrated for the most accurate reading. The scan is painless and noninvasive and your results are immediate.

“You should wear comfortable clothing with no metal (rivets, zippers, buckles, piercings or jewelry) or be prepared to change into provided shirt and shorts. You will lie still on a flat surface with their legs strapped together at the knees and ankles while a mechanical arm passes over you. The scan can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.”

The feedback

A DEXA scan is a tool to help you understand your body’s individual needs, strengths and weaknesses with respect to training or exercise, diet and overall health. “This information can be used to personalize nutrition and training plans. You can track body composition changes, monitor rehab progress, determine muscle imbalances that will affect training as well as identify areas at risk for injury.”

DEXA body composition analysis provides valuable information to help athletes or anyone interested in a healthier lifestyle adjust training or fitness programs and nutritional plans for reaching your goals.

Body composition measurements are most useful when compared with subsequent measurements. Your first scan will provide you with a baseline and the information provided can help you make decisions about adjusting and optimizing your nutrition and exercise program. Once you have implemented changes, another scan at a three to six-month interval can help you to understand your body’s specific response.

Next steps

“After the scan, the client meets with me for 10-15 minutes for an interpretation of the results and basic recommendations. If the results indicate further evaluation or intervention is needed, referrals can be made to an appropriate provider. DEXAs should be repeated once a year for bone mineral density (unless otherwise recommended by physician) and every six months or more for body composition.”

For subsequent scans, simulate the conditions of the initial scan (fasting, hydration, time of day) for the most accurate comparison. While the scan will provide a bone density reading, Parkview Sports Medicine does not consult on bone density. It’s also important to know that the DEXA body composition application will not diagnose any diseases or conditions.


DEXA scans are by appointment only, at Parkview Ortho Express, inside the SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse. To schedule an appointment for a DEXA body composition test, call (260) 266-4007.

Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Saturday 8 a.m. to noon



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