Body Composition Laboratory

We house one of the world's best equipped Body Composition Laboratories with a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment for non-invasively assessing body composition in health and disease.

The purpose of the Body Composition Laboratory is to conduct research in the area of body composition, and carry out measurements of body composition and energy expenditure to monitor growth, nutritional status, rehabilitation, and energy requirements in a variety of clinical conditions.


The Body Composition Laboratory is primarily used by UQ Child Health Research Centre (CHRC) researchers and our partner organisations (CHQ and QUT) to gather data for research studies, but is also able to accommodate assessment of clinical cases. Common clinical conditions referred to the laboratory include cancer, eating disorders, obesity, head and spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, inflammatory bowel disease and cystic fibrosis. 

The laboratory has the appropriate technology and expertise necessary to run tests and interpret results to assist clinicians in planning future treatment or management of a child's condition. Qualified Health Care Practitioners can refer children to the Body Composition Laboratory from the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, or any other hospital or private clinic. Some tests are eligible for bulk-billing through Medicare.

For referrals to the body composition laboratory contact 07 3069 7585 or email


The methods used at the Body Composition Laboratory are non-invasive and painless. These methods are outlined below:

Body Composition

Body Composition Whole Body Counter - Total Body Potassium

The Body Composition Laboratory operates the only whole body counter for the measurement of total body potassium in Queensland. Potassium40 is a naturally occurring isotope found in the active cells of the body. Total body potassium can be used to predict body cell mass and thus nutritional status, if the amount of potassium 40 in the body is known.

Bod Pod®

The Body Composition Laboratory houses one of only a handful of Bod Pods in Australia. The Bod Pod uses air displacement to measure body volume and then calculate percent fat. It is a relatively new method in the field, so the laboratory is currently undertaking research to further validate the Bod Pod for use in clinical situations. It is a preferred body composition method as it is quick, simple and non-invasive.

In 2007 we obtained a "Pea Pod", which uses a similar approach to the Bod Pod to assess body composition in infants.

Single and Multiple Frequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)

BIA measures the impedance of the body tissues to the flow of a small electrical current. Impedance is proportional to total body water. From an estimate of total body water, and by using several assumptions, fat free mass, fat mass and percent fat can be determined through population specific equations. 

The lab also has access to REE (Resting Energy Expenditure), DEXA, pQCT and MRI scanning.


Bookings and payment

To make your booking please contact

To pay for your confirmed booking click here.