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Body Composition Analysis Tool Supports British Triathletes on the Way to London 2012


Every day an Olympic athlete spends in rehab is a day lost in training, making earlier diagnosis and real-time recovery monitoring crucial for elite performance. Picture: Jonathan Brownlee, Team GB Triathlete


"We hope our work with the Olympic Games will provide us with new insights into how our technologies can help give physicians the information they need to treat the general public” says Bettina Fitt, Country Manager UK & Ireland, GE Healthcare

With only six months to the start of London 2012 Olympics, the British Triathlon team has a secret weapon – precise body composition on a GE Healthcare Lunar iDXA* system. The advanced iDXA system, a body composition analysis tool, helps elite athletes like the British Triathletes fulfill their Olympic medal-winning potential and maintain peak performance.  Through the GE and British Triathlon partnership, athletes already benefit from access to GE’s portable ultrasound systems, the LOGIQ e. Both these technologies help optimize training and improve performance as the team prepares for the Olympic Games.

In Leeds, Zara Hyde Peters, CEO of British Triathlon, together with Bettina Fitt, Country Manager UK & Ireland, GE Healthcare, and Jonathan Brownlee, GB Triathlete, announced their continued collaboration on a ‘Health Bus’, a mobile medical unit which travels to triathletes all over the UK, housing the advanced iDXAsystem which aims to provide technological mobility and accessibility to help keep athletes in prime form.

As excess body fat tends to reduce physical efficiency, professional athletes often benefit from a lean body composition (low body fat percentage), obtained through training and a proper diet. The bathroom scale, as well as height/weight tables based on BMI are not especially helpful in measuring body composition as they do not distinguish muscle from fat. For highly trained athletes, even a small change in body composition can significantly affect performance. Body composition monitoring – like that offered by the GE Healthcare iDXA system – provides valuable information that athletes and their trainers can use to adjust diet and training regimens.

Through accurate, easy-to-read reports, body composition data from a GE Healthcare iDXA can help spur athlete engagement by tracking small but meaningful physical changes over time to illustrate how nutrition and fitness programs impact body composition, and how these changes may affect quality of life, improve performance, prevent disease and manage overall health.

Team GB triathlete Jonathan Brownlee said: “The access to this equipment is crucial for me and my success as it helps me maintain the right body composition. In the swim for example, I need to be lean but I also need a bit of weight to maintain good buoyancy. The GE Healthcare iDXA helps monitor those levels and gives me an indication of how I need to adapt my training and nutrition in order to maximise my performance and ability.  It will also help me prevent any potential injuries that could occur as that is an athlete’s worst nightmare.”

Weight and body shape alone are not clear indicators of overall health

Weight and body shape alone are not clear indicators of overall health because neither specifically distinguishes between muscle, bone and fat and for a tri-athlete, the split between such body components play a critical role to their performance.

Zara Hyde-Peters, CEO British Triathlon added: “The equipment that GE healthcare provide is essential for the BTF, not only this year but for the medal prospects in years to come. The level of diagnostics available on even the slightest pains and strains could prove invaluable as these athletes develop in the sport. It allows us to be proactive with our athletes and help them perform at their best.  This GE healthcare equipment helps give us the edge over the competition as the scanning equipment is available throughout the year to all British Triathlon squad members. This relationship with GE is vital to the long term success of our athletes.”

In keeping with previous Olympic Games where GE provided medical imaging equipment for the early diagnosis and treatment of sporting injuries, the GE-London Olympics partnership announced in 2011 looks to optimize and improve athletic performance as competitors from over 100 nations pursue the Gold Medal.  

Bettina Fitt, Country Manager UK & Ireland, GE Healthcare commented: “We are very proud to have a long standing legacy of working with sports doctors and helping to equip them with GE’s latest medical imaging technologies giving them the tools to aid in early diagnosis and monitoring of injuries, which can help treatment to be personalized and timing for return to the competition arena be more accurately predicted. In addition, as a proud sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games we also hope our work with the Olympic Games will provide us with new insights into how our technologies can help give physicians the information they need to treat the general public.”


*Trademark of General Electric Company.