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Dive into Body Composition Analysis

Body Composition Analysis

using DXA Technology

Accurate measurement of body composition provides valuable information for assessing, monitoring and treating a variety of diseases and disorders.

Today’s body composition measurement tools provide far more complete and precise information that can help support diagnoses and guide treatment. They can even help athletes decide on their training regimens to achieve the best performance.

Body composition measurement with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) can look beyond weight and the traditional body mass index (BMI) to determine body fat distribution – an important risk factor in various serious diseases. More broadly speaking, information from DXA exams can prove valuable in conditions, such as:

In all these cases, body composition measurement contributes to a thorough patient evaluation and helps physicians monitor the effects of therapy, diet or exercise.

  • Obesity

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Cystic fibrosis

  • Wasting syndrome (caused by HIV/Aids)

  • Chronic renal failure

DXA body composition measurement

More powerful than ever

Physicians today use DXA for body composition because it accurately shows exactly where fat is distributed throughout the body. Lunar DXA systems directly measure and calculate total fat, lean and bone tissue, instead of estimating body composition.

DXA systems must perform at the highest precision possible.

In fact, experts agree that in monitoring patients over time, it is crucial to get consistent results. Lunar DXA systems are backed by numerous studies that demonstrate high accuracy and precision in total body measurement.12

The precision of Lunar DXA systems is enabled by TruView image reconstruction technology, which eliminates the magnification and distortion inherent in traditional wide-angle fan-beam technology. TruView assesses the size of the anatomy accurately without making assumptions, providing true area and body composition measurements.

When measuring total body composition it is critical to take the entire body into account: bone, fat, and lean tissue.


DXA systems calibrate across a full range of values, rather than calibrating to an average patient.

Important clues for managing eating disorders

Assessment of body composition is important in evaluating and managing severe eating disorders such as anorexia. It is well known that women with anorexia nervosa more easily develop osteoporosis.

Patients with anorexia lose a substantial amount of lean tissue, accounting for from 15% to 45% of the loss of total body mass. Much of this loss in lean tissue is muscle.

Physicians treating anorexia use body composition with DXA to:

a) evaluate disease severity by setting target values of lean and fat

b) monitor changes in both lean and fat compartments

c) measure the effectiveness of nutritional interventions.

As one study found, “A key advantage of DXA is that changes in bone mineral density, fat and lean mass can be monitored. Weight scale measures general weight change, but without specific differentiation of changes in fat and lean mass for the total body or in various regions of interest.” 

Nutritional therapies must not only increase fat tissue but must also re-establish the normal relationship of fat to lean tissue. Young women with eating disorders have an increased risk for osteopenia, and osteoporotic fractures later in life.

Studies show that change in whole body lean-tissue mass correlates strongly with change in body weight after hemodialysis. Renal failure also affects the skeletal constitution: Patients with renal dysfunctions are at significantly higher risk of primary and secondary osteoporosis.

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