Bone Densitometry and Body Composition Laboratory


Director: Jacquelyn Pence, PhD

Research Focus

The Bone Densitometry and Body Composition Laboratory houses a Hologic Horizon A dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) system. The system is utilized for research studies as well as by individuals interested in learning more about their personal health. The body composition report includes a pictorial analyses of bone, lean mass and fat mass distribution as well as a compartmentalized (arms, chest, torso, legs) breakdown. The report also highlights the body fat percentile specific to the individuals age and race as well as an estimation of visceral fat.

Body composition is a key metric for health and correlated to a variety of conditions and diseases. DXA is a gold-standard method for bone densitometry measurements and for assessing overall body composition, with results comparable to hydrostatic (underwater) weighing in the latter case. The laboratory routinely uses repeated DXA measurements for the assessment of fat loss and muscle mass changes in interventional dietary and exercise studies sponsored by our industry partners. DXA has also been central to anthropometric data collection for studies funded by the NIH and others, as it outperforms other traditional body fat percentage screening methods such as bioelectrical impedance analysis and skin fold measurements.