• Report: #617823

Complaint Review: Polar BodyAge System

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  • Submitted: Sat, June 26, 2010
  • Updated: Thu, December 23, 2010

  • Reported By: mieze — Hell Michigan USA
Polar BodyAge System
9600 San Mateo NE albuquerque, New Mexico United States of America

Polar BodyAge System Polar HealthFirst Corporation Fitness assessment equipment of questionable scientific validity albuquerque, New Mexico

*General Comment: Body Age Assessment

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My community rec center owns a Polar BodyAge System. Basically it's a computer with a few devices attached to it that are supposed to measure your overall fitness--a scale, a heart monitor and blood pressure cuff, levers to lift or pull, and a calipers to measure folds of skin for body fat. Supposedly a personal trainer can then use the data to electronically program a custom exercise program for you. In my case, I had just done a six-week session with a trainer and since the BodyAge assessment came with the package she had me come in after we were through and did it for me, not really as part of my training program as I was done with that, but since it was part of the deal that I'd already paid for.

One thing that I was not expecting was that along with measuring my heart rate, etc. the test required my trainer to ask me a series of questions about my overall physical and mental health that were extremely personal and intrusive, the sort you would expect a doctor to ask during a physical. Keep in mind this was not a health care setting but a community gym and a part-time gym employee with no background in medicine or health care. I like my trainer, and because I felt so comfortable with her it wasn't until afterwards that I realized, gee, it wasn't such a good idea to have her load all this extremely confidential information into this computer, which is kept in a locked room but that's about it. I don't even know if it's password protected, and are there even laws protecting the confidentiality of information given to somebody who works at a gym? Since this isn't an aspect of the Polar BodyAge assessment that seems to be mentioned in any promotional literature I've seen about it (certainly not at my rec center) I think people should be aware of this aspect before they choose to have one done.

Another thing I want to emphasize is that there is no proof that the Polar BodyAge assessment is in any way scientifically valid. At least I've yet to find any evidence that it's been endorsed by any reputable medical authority. All I've been able to find online are a few newspapers and magazine articles that sound like they're basically rewritten press releases from the Polar company about what a great motivational aid BodyAge assessments are for people who want to get into shape. Eh, in my case not so much. As I mentioned before I took it after a six-week workout regimen with an excellent trainer, when I was feeling better than I had in years and very proud of myself for having lost six pounds, which according to the BMI scale put me at 26, just seven pounds away from being in the healthy weight range for my height. However, according to the BodyAge machine, not only did I need to lose 30-40 lbs. in order to be at a healthy weight, but I had a body fat composition of nearly 40% and a BodyAge that was seventeen years older than my real age. This would be where knowing whether or not the system is actually a valid measurement of health and fitness would have been really valuable. Because rather than feeling motivated, I just felt like giving up.

I suspect that the BodyAge system was designed as a come-on for for-profit fitness clubs to scare clients into investing more money in products and services by telling them they were physical wrecks on the verge of death. Again, I have no proof either way. But if you're sensitive about your weight and fitness level, not to mention choosy about who has access to your medical data, I strongly urge you to think twice before going in for one of these.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/26/2010 12:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Polar-BodyAge-System/albuquerque-New-Mexico-87113/Polar-BodyAge-System-Polar-HealthFirst-Corporation-Fitness-assessment-equipment-of-questio-617823. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 General Comment

Body Age Assessment

AUTHOR: James - (United States of America)

After reading this report I felt the need to set the record straight. Body Age is an effective screening process that we use in our business to help our clients determine their health status.

1. The reporter suggests this technology is not valid or been reviewed by any governing body.

A. Body Age technology is a class II medical device approved by the FDA.

B. Protocols for this testing device come from the following organizations:

American Cancer Society
American College of Sports Medicine
American Diabetes Association

American Heart Association
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology
Institute for Aerobics Research
National Cholesterol Education Program
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Polar Electro, Inc.
Rockport Walking Institution
The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research

United States Department of Agriculture

3. Having a qualified person delivering this assessment can make a huge difference in the validity of the testing.

4. The current HIPPA laws govern the privacy of all medical information. There should be appropriate informed consent agreement protocols, and privacy protocols to be in compliance. There are quack doctors out there but that does not mean all medicine is not valid.

5. We have used this technology for years and found it to be valuable in helping our clients evaluate their health status. It seems this reporter is blaming the messenger for his lifestyle choices.

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