With a scale and an Internet connection, you can find out your body mass index. And with your gym membership, you can get a crude body fat count.
But what about the percentage of fat tissue in your left arm? Right arm? Or the belly fat in your torso? Your overall body composition, including lean muscle mass and subsequent bone health?
For the top 125 PGA Tour pros at this weekend’s Barclays FedEx Cup at the Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey, the answers to those and other body mass questions are a painless, six-minute scan away in one of GE’s clinical, prescription-use iDXA systems, which provides crisp, high-definition body images, instantly churning out detailed, five-page reports with specific amounts of lean and fat in each region of the body. And all of it obtained while lying down on a table as low-rem intelligent dual-energy X-rays (iDXA) are administered to near-fully clothed recipients.
The direct digital technology employed by the $100,000 machines renders crisp images. “It’s not expected to have that sort of detail,” Greg Dudra, GE’s metabolic health specialist, told GE Reports. “But it does.”
The Lunar iDXA scans at the Barclays will now also employ something called CoreScan–a new GE technology dedicated to helping quickly and accurately quantify visceral “belly” fat. (This author’s was 0.54 lbs, which, not to brag, was lower than any of the touring pros scanned during Tuesday’s practice round.)
GE has also been utilizing another, smaller machine–the Lunar InBody 720–to measure such levels as total body water, intracellular water, extracellular water–keys for athletes’ hydration.
For “weekend warriors” and non-athletes, the idea behind the scans is to help patients and physicians tailor individualized health and wellness plans while addressing the growing threat of obesity-related disease. For the PGA pros and other elite athletes, it’s to help them make decisions on training regimens in order to achieve peak performance targets.
“For a lifelong sport like golf,” Furyk said recently, “it’s important to prevent injuries and keep you in the game as long as possible.”
The number of iDXA systems active in the U.S. is growing, but Dudra says the goal is to raise awareness, and allow more athletes–professional and otherwise–to get a better understanding of how diet, lifestyle and exercise influence their body’s make-up.
“Football players, gymnasts, golfers, Olympic athletes–anyone who cares about their fitness,” Dudra said.