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New body composition analyzer at Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group Occupational Medicine

Jason Wesley, MD, occupational medicine

Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group Occupational Medicine recently purchased InBody, a new body composition analyzer, to be used for community first responders, specifically for firefighters during their mandatory annual physical evaluations.

This advanced equipment replaces the basic skin caliper test previously used to determine body fat composition through measurement of body mass index, or BMI.

Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts recently conducted a study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting, to get a better understanding of emergency responders’ baseline health. Researchers looked at heart disease risk factors, such as body fat levels, with a focus on belly fat in firefighters, police officers and paramedics.

Results demonstrated firefighters face a higher risk of heart disease than other emergency responders. This result was surprising because the study also found that firefighters were the most physically active of the three groups of emergency responders. The study concluded that BMI alone may not be the most appropriate metric for defining overweight and obesity conditions in populations with high levels of muscle mass.

The InBody analyzer measures not only body fat composition, but also body water and muscle mass by passing three frequencies of safe, low-level currents through the body between eight contact points. This allows for an extremely accurate measurement. The subject simply stands on the device and holds the hand electrodes, through which the currents are sent through the body. The technology guarantees precise, consistent outputs.

Test results interpretation includes the following:

  • Obesity analysis or body mass index determines obesity by using height and weight. The overall percentage of body fat is compared to body weight.
  • Segmental lean analysis evaluates whether the muscles are adequately developed in the body. Muscle mass is compared to ideal weight for height.
  • Body water analysis measures the ration of extracellular to total body water, which is an important indicator of whether the body water is balanced.
  • Visceral fat level is based on the estimated amount of fat surrounding internal organs.

InBody’s detailed testing provides a more accurate measure of firefighter physical health and associated risks. Its precise results allow occupational medicine medical director and provider, Jason Wesley, MD, to offer more specific recommendations for health improvement and can help validate the need for services such as personal training and/or physical therapy.

The sooner symptoms of a disease are found, the more likely illness can be prevented or successfully managed. Using the most current, advanced screenings for chronic medical conditions provides detailed results which demonstrate a clearly defined picture of our local firefighters’ health and ability to do their stressful and physically challenging jobs.

To learn more about Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group Occupational Medicine, click here