Our Lecturer in Physiology, Dr Michelle Swainson, was invited to deliver a workshop at the International Society of Clinical Densitometry Annual Meeting in Boston, USA. The workshop was about the use of DXA scanners to accurately measure total body fat, but more importantly new developments to measure visceral fat (the fat around major organs in the abdominal region).
Dr Swainson explained:
"Obesity is a major public health concern but its identification is primarily based on body mass index. BMI is useful but its preferential use in health settings is potentially misclassifying people as obese (or not) so it is important to identify obesity using more accurate measures, and measures that link better with disease risk.
"It was exciting to present a case study where in 5 months, the client lost 13% body fat, 20cm off his waist, halved his visceral fat, improved his cardiovascular risk profile but still remains borderline obese when BMI is used.
I hope to engage students in questioning how and why certain measures are used and how this will differ across population groups."