International award for PhD student’s body fat, heart disease research

March 21, 2023

Jonathan Bennett
Jonathan Bennett

Research that helps identify how age, sex and ethnicity can impact body fat and risk for early cardiovascular disease was nationally recognized by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD). University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Jonathan Bennett, a nutritional sciences PhD student, under the mentorship of UH Cancer Center researcher John Shepherd, will receive the Best Research Abstract Award from ISCD at its annual meeting on March 31, in Chicago, Illinois.

Bennett’s findings suggest that the measurement of body fat associated with disease risk is more complex than previously thought and requires more research to understand the relationship between fat storage and disease risk.

He found that the use of a DXA scan, commonly used in hospitals and clinics to measure bone, muscle and fat, make it possible to collect data in larger populations, advancing the understanding of the role that fat plays in disease development.

“Using the recommendations from our review, we can inform researchers on how to improve the study of the different locations where fat is stored to better elucidate what is truly a ‘risky’ level for a person,” said Bennett, who will earn his PhD this spring. “This will undoubtedly improve screening and monitoring of cardiovascular disease risk in clinical practice.”

The ISCD is a professional association that aims to improve muscle and skeletal health assessment techniques to improve quality of resources for patient care.

The UH Cancer Center leads numerous studies that examine body fat, including Shape Up!, Cyanotoxins and Liver Cancer Development Study and the Healthy Diet and Lifestyle Study 2. To participate and learn more, visit the UH Cancer Center website.