A photo of Heidi J. Kalkwarf.

Scientific Director, Bionutrition & Body Composition Core Laboratory, CCTST

Associate Director, Digestive Health Center
Associate Director, Pediatric Advanced Nutrition Fellowship

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Biography & Affiliation


Heidi Kalkwarf, PhD, RD, is a nutritional epidemiologist whose research interest is in bone health and body composition development during growth. Her research investigates the normal patterns of bone acquisition in infants, children and adolescents, how lifestyle factors and chronic medical conditions affect bone accrual and how bone mineral deficits translate to risk of fracture. The long term goals of this work are to identify children who are at risk for fractures in childhood or osteoporosis later in life and to identify interventions to reduce this risk. One of her current studies focuses on bone acquisition in toddlers and pre-school aged children, an understudied population that is undergoing rapid changes in motor skills, physical activity, dietary intake and growth. She is also investigating the long term bone health consequences of bariatric surgery performed during adolescence. Dr. Kalkwarf’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for the last two decades.

Dr. Kalkwarf is a standing member of the NIH study section Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME). She came to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center as a postdoctoral fellow in 1990 and joined the faculty in 1993.

Research Interests

Bone mineral density in infants and children; body composition; dietary intake assessment; dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA); peripheral QCT

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics




BS: Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 1980.

MNS: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1983.

PhD: Cornell University; Ithaca, NY, 1991.

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 1990-1993.

Certification: Registered Dietitian, 1983.


Selected Publication

Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Z-Score Calculation Equations and Their Application in Childhood Disease. Kelly, A; Shults, J; Mostoufi-Moab, S; McCormack, SE; Stallings, VA; Schall, JI; Kalkwarf, HJ; Lappe, JM; Gilsanz, V; Oberfield, SE; et al. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2019; 34:195-203.

Patterns of early life body mass index and childhood overweight and obesity status at eight years of age. Braun, JM; Kalkwarf, HJ; Papandonatos, GD; Chen, A; Lanphea, BP. BMC Pediatrics. 2018; 18.

Bone fragility in Turner syndrome: Fracture prevalence and risk factors determined by a national patient survey. Wasserman, H; Backeljauw, PF; Khoury, JC; Kalkwarf, HJ; Gordon, CM. Clinical Endocrinology. 2018; 89:46-55.

Infant Weight and Length Growth Trajectories Modeled Using Superimposition by Translation and Rotation Are Differentially Associated with Body Composition Components at 3 and 7 Years of Age. Woo, JG; Sucharew, H; Su, W; Khoury, PR; Daniels, SR; Kalkwarf, HJ. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2018; 196:182-188.e1.

Association Between Linear Growth and Bone Accrual in a Diverse Cohort of Children and Adolescents. McCormack, SE; Cousminer, DL; Chesi, A; Mitchell, JA; Roy, SM; Kalkwarf, HJ; Lappe, JM; Gilsanz, V; Oberfield, SE; Shepherd, JA; et al. JAMA Pediatrics. 2017; 171:e171769-e171769.

Low bone mineral density and fractures are highly prevalent in pediatric patients with spinal muscular atrophy regardless of disease severity. Wasserman, HM; Hornung, LN; Stenger, PJ; Rutter, MM; Wong, BL; Rybalsky, I; Khoury, JC; Kalkwarf, HJ. Neuromuscular Disorders. 2017; 27:331-337.

Physical Activity Benefits the Skeleton of Children Genetically Predisposed to Lower Bone Density in Adulthood. Mitchell, JA; Chesi, A; Elci, O; McCormack, SE; Roy, SM; Kalkwarf, HJ; Lappe, JM; Gilsanz, V; Oberfield, SE; Shepherd, JA; et al. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2016; 31:1504-1512.

Child Physical Activity Associations With Cardiovascular Risk Factors Differ by Race. Edwards, NM; Kalkwarf, HJ; Woo, JG; Khoury, PR; Daniels, SR; Urbina, EM. Pediatric Exercise Science. 2016; 28:397-406.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation's position statement on peak bone mass development and lifestyle factors: a systematic review and implementation recommendations. Weaver, CM; Gordon, CM; Janz, KF; Kalkwarf, HJ; Lappe, JM; Lewis, R; O'Karma, M; Wallace, TC; Zemel, BS. Osteoporosis International. 2016; 27:1281-1386.

Reproducibility and Intermethod Reliability of a Calcium Food Frequency Questionnaire for Use in Hispanic, Non-Hispanic Black, and Non-Hispanic White Youth. Ollberding, NJ; Gilsanz, V; Lappe, JM; Oberfield, SE; Shepherd, JA; Winer, KK; Zemel, BS; Kalkwarf, HJ. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015; 115:519-U274.