My first DEXA scan results and concerns about visceral adipose tissue (VAT)

Hi all,

I just got my first DEXA scan done by BodySpec. Overall a very pleasant experience.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my total body-fat % was 21, my Withings scale at home put me at 28%. My bone density Z-score is 4 which is off the scale, this would explain why I still weighed 80kg at 180cm despite being bone thin in college; I guess that could be good or bad depending on how light you wish you were.

The thing that really disturbs me is that VAT came out to 2.30 lbs. The technician said this is a pretty high reading but given how 60% of my body fat is in my trunk and android areas, I guess it’s not surprising.

His suggestion to reduce VAT is sleep and less stress. Evidently exercise has a great effect on subcutaneous fat but not on VAT. Unfortunately I have a chronically stressful work and family life and I do not sleep well (usually less than 7 hours a night). With that in mind, am I screwed as far as VAT is concerned? Is there anything else I can do to reduce VAT growth like changing my diet?

1 Like

@TRusername - I think it is important to keep in mind that the technican likely does not see guys like you that often, that is, former competitive power lifters. So his baseline reference may not apply to you. Also why your bone density is so high.

For example, since you are at 21% body fat and 93 kg according to the above thread, that puts you at 19.3 kg of total FAT. The 2.3 lbs is just over 1 kg of VAT. So your VAT is just over 5% of your total FAT. Or said another way, you are nearly 95% non-VAT FAT!.

Further, although you are not nearly as tall as @Nate_Pearson at 180cm you still likely have a good amount of volume to spread that VAT around. Excess VAT like most things in excess is bad but it is there for a purpose like cushioning the organs. If you keep on your trajectory of becoming a strong endurance athlete and eat well your body will adapt as needed.

Of course if you are concerned about the level of VAT then talk with your physician for more recommendations about what to do.


This study shows that VAT can be reduced by aerobic exercice.

1 Like

I find the dexa very useful. Visceral fat is something i monitor. African decent - this is always a concern.

I am short at 165cm. 73kgs. 13% body fat. Visceral fat 236grams…for me diet was the key. Unlike most of the advice, i am low cab.

The dexa is fantastic to monitor changes to your body from different interventions - diet, exercise etc. Try to get to 15% body fat and see what happens. I would suggest doing one every 3 months if you can - following different interventions.

Check insulin resistance…HOMAIR

1 Like

I wouldn’t totally discount the scales at home. Scales give you total fat - including your brain. When you take into account your brain weight, 28% is more like 21% on the dexa…

Great thing about VAT is pretty easy to move. It does reduce pretty quickly with any weight loss. Say you drop your fat from 21% (16.8kg) to 18% (14.40kgs), i would not be surprised if your VAT reduces by at least 30 - 50%.

1 Like