Technological developments in the area have led to a number of different machines now being available for directly or indirectly measuring body fatness. Some of these are extremely expensive and would not be used in the normal day-to-day counseling situation. Others are now becoming more portable and more accessible and provide at least an opportunity for adding to other measures. The current range of machines include: underwater weighing, bio-impedance analysis, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, etc.

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). In 1987 the first commercially available dual energy X-ray absorptiometer (DEXA) was designed to measure the bone mineral content of the skeleton, especially at the spine, hips and wrist because they are common sites for osteoporosis. The machines, however, can accurately measure three body components (bone, fat and lean body tissue) both regionally and for the whole body and are now common in most hospitals. The method enables measurement of total fat as well as regional body composition. They use a very low dose of X-ray and scan a person in 20-40 minutes. DEXA is taking over from underwater weighing as the validation standard in fat measurement and body fat research, largely because of its accuracy, comparative ease of use, and widespread availability.


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