Underwater tank helps measure body mass


by Cathy Marshall


Posted on January 10, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 7:21 AM

PORTLAND - The new year means new business for a Portland hospital as patients take on their “get healthy” resolutions.

At Portland Adventist Medical Center, January brings a surge in interest in their underwater weighing tank. Patients totally submerged in water get a reading of how much of their weight is fat and how much is muscle.

“It’s the gold standard and the only real way to know if you’re making progress,” explained Milwaukie accountant Joe Bailey.

He’s dropped 45 pounds of fat and gained nine pounds of muscle in the past year. Joe comes back to the tank every few months. It takes less than five minutes to get an assessment of his body fat percentage.

“The water is warm. You just grab onto the sides of the tank and blow out your air.”

About 400 people use the hydrostatic weighing tank each year, paying about $40 per session.

“For what it would cost to go to dinner, I get this information and I can track my progress,” said Joe.

His latest trip pointed to the importance of taking the plunge.

“He lost weight but gained fat and lost muscle,” remarked Jennifer Dinucci with Adventist Wellness Services.

Joe knows it’s because of the extra eating he did over the holidays. After this latest underwater results he recommitted to his weight loss journey.

“It’s time to kick it into high gear,” he concluded.