An understanding of body composition is crucial to understanding human health, disease, and function. Research in body composition has focused on the development of assessment methods, description of normal changes in body composition with growth and development and aging, and the changes that occur in body composition in response to challenges ranging from illness to planned interventions. Each focus is significant, and in a sense, they are interdependent, because technological advances allow more sophisticated questions to be addressed, which in turn drives the development of better methods. Significant advances have been made in each area, although perhaps surprisingly basic questions remain. For example, growth trajectories are often estimated from cross-sectional data, given the resources needed for long-term observational studies, and thus, longitudinal descriptive data are still needed. Along with advances in laboratory methods, development of field methods remains relevant for screening and clinical practice. Despite recognition of wide interindividual differences in intervention response, average outcomes continue to be emphasized. With technological advances, it is now possible to examine genetic along with nongenetic factors that underlie changes in body composition, and these techniques need to be applied in long-term, well-controlled trials. In this article, we review 10 key questions in related areas in which research is needed to continue to advance the field.
- Adipose tissue
- Intervention response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation