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



My Biography & Research


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


Gastroenterology, Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders Research

My Education

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.

My Publications

Mitchell JA, Chesi A, Elci O, McCormack SE, Roy SM, Kalkwarf HJ, Lappe JM, Gilsanz V, Oberfield SE, Shepherd JA, Kelly A, Grant SFA, Zemel BS. Genetic risk scores implicated in adult bone fragility associate with pediatric bone density. J Bone Mineral Res. 2016;31(4):789-95.

Lappe J, Watson P, Gilsanz V, Hangartner T, Kalkwarf HJ, Oberfield S, Shepherd J, Winer K, Zemel B. The longitudinal effects of physical activity and dietary calcium on bone mass accrual across stages of pubertal development. J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Jan;30:156-64.

Ollberding NJ, Couch SC, Woo JG, Kalkwarf HJ. Within- and between-individual variation in nutrient intake in children and adolescents. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114(11):1749-58.e5

Appleman SS, Kalkwarf HJ, Dwivedi A, Heubi JE. Bone deficits in parenteral nutrition-dependent infants and children with intestinal failure are attenuated when accounting for slower growth. J Ped Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Jul;57(1):124-130.

Kalkwarf HJ, Zemel BS, Yolton K, Heubi JE. Bone mineral content and density of the lumbar spine of infants and toddlers: influence of age, sex, race, growth and human milk feeding. J Bone Mineral Res. 2013;28:206-12.

Zemel B, Kalkwarf HJ, Gilsanz V, Lappe JM, Oberfield S, Shepherd JA, Frederick MM, Huang X, Lu M, Mahboubi S, Hangartner T, Winer KK. Revised Reference Curves for Bone Mineral Content and Areal Bone Mineral Density According to Age and Sex for Black and Non-Black Children: Results of The Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study. J Clin Endocrin Metab. 2011 Oct;96(10):3160-9.

Wren TAL, Shepherd J, Kalkwarf H, Zemel B, Lappe J, Oberfield S, Winer KK, Gilsanz V. Racial disparity in fracture rates between white and non-white children in the United States. J Pediatr. 2012;161:1035-40.e2.

Kaulfers A-MD, Bean JA, Inge TH, Dolan LM, Kalkwarf HJ. Bone Loss in Adolescents after Bariatric Surgery. Pediatrics. 2011 Apr;127(4):e956-61. 

Kalkwarf HJ, Laor T, Bean JA. Fracture risk in children with a forearm injury is associated with volumetric bone density and cortical area (by peripheral QCT) and areal bone density (by DXA). Osteoporos Int. 2011 Feb;22(2):607-16

Kalkwarf HJ, Gilsanz V, Lappe JM, Oberfield S, Shepherd JA, Hangartner TN, Huang X, Frederick MM, Winer KK, Zemel BS. Tracking of bone mass and density during childhood and adolescence. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Apr;95(4):1690-8.