BOD POD vs. DEXA: Which is best for body composition testing?

BOD POD vs. DEXA: Which is best for body composition testing?

Body composition is the practice of breaking down the human body into its individual components including body fat mass, muscle mass, bone, tissue, and water. Body composition analysis can help you understand your body weight on a deeper level.

There are many ways to measure body composition, each varying in their methodology and accuracy. In this blog, we’ll break down the differences between BOD POD vs. DEXA scans to help you decide which test is right for your individual goals.


The BOD POD uses air displacement to calculate body composition. Air displacement functions similarly to water displacement, creating volume changes in a confined and controlled space and measuring pressure responses.

The BOD POD procedure is simple and takes only 5-8 minutes total. First, you will be weighed using a very precise scale that is integrated into the BOD POD machine. Then you will sit inside the egg-shaped BOD POD chamber for around 2 minutes. The body volume will be measured in two brief, 45-second measurement periods.

It is important that you do not exercise, eat, or drink two hours prior to the test, because any food intake or physical activity can alter your mass and volume. Additionally, it is recommended that individuals wear form-fitting, compression-type  clothing to minimize volume. A swim cap will be provided during testing as well. Clothing, hair, and any accessories you wear will have an impact on volume and mass measurements.

DEXA Scans

DEXA stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and uses low-energy X-ray beams to measure body composition, including bone density and body fat percentage. Unlike the BOD POD, the DEXA scan also shows segmental body fat distribution in regions such as arms, legs, android (waist), and gynoid (hips) so that you can identify imbalances in the body. It can also distinguish between visceral and subcutaneous fat in the android region, providing implications on health risks for certain diseases.

The DEXA scan procedure takes approximately 15 minutes. You will be asked to lie down on an exam table while an imaging arm hovers over your body. Unlike the BOD POD, you can eat or drink normally on the day of the procedure. However, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any metal objects in order to minimize interference with the X-ray.

BOD POD vs. DEXA Scan: Which Is Better?

When it comes to delivering accurate results, both the BOD POD and the DEXA provide body composition measurements with clinical grade accuracy. A DEXA scan has a very low error rate of 1-2%, compared to 5-15% for most methods. The advanced X-ray technology leaves little guesswork. The BOD POD also has a very low range of error.

In terms of safety, both tests are completely safe and non-invasive.  While DEXS does involve some exposure to radiation, it is minimal and similar to the amount you would encounter while on a transcontinental airplane flight. Both tests are quick and convenient to fit into your busy schedule.

DEXA may be easier to find and schedule an appointment, as they are becoming increasingly common across various health practices, gyms, and wellness centers. Additionally, you have the added convenience of not having to alter your exercise routine or fast beforehand.

Interested in exploring your body composition? Find a DEXA scan location near you.

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