Alumni Outlook Magazine

Research Shows Benefits of Nutrition, Human Performance Labs


Research Shows Benefits of Nutrition, Human Performance Labs

Laura Verdegan ’05, a graduate assistant in food and nutrition, researched the risk factors of female cross country runners for osteoporosis. Vital to her research were the nutritional assessment laboratory and the new human performance laboratory housed next to each other in the Home Economics building.

“As these two labs continue to add equipment, their value to student research will be even greater,” she said.For instance, the human development lab will soon receive a DEXA machine, or Dual Energy X-ray Absortiometry machine, which is the most widely used method to measure bone mineral density.“The DEXA would be a great resource for additional research on osteoporosis,” Verdegan said. “Future students will greatly benefit from the new equipment.” In addition to her research, Verdegan has played a major part in the development of the labs, and she has been responsible for the operations of the human performance lab. Her main goal has been to compile a laboratory policies and procedures manual that can be used by future graduate assistants to streamline the lab’s processes. The lab’s next graduate assistant, Adam Kuchnia, is excited about taking the baton. With the manual already in place, Kuchnia can concentrate on marketing the lab — first to students, then to the community — and training others to use the equipment. “So many people are surprised to hear that these labs exist and that we can perform physical and nutritional assessments and interpret measurements,” Kuchnia said. The nutritional assessment lab currently includes instruments to measure heel bone strength, body fat composition, hemoglobin and cholesterol. The human performance laboratory houses equipment to determine breathing capacity, hand grip strength, heart rate, flexibility, body fat percentage, calorie intake requirements and, beginning this fall, overall bone density and muscle mass.

“Nutrition and physical fitness go together,” Kuchnia said. “I am glad both of these components can be found at Stout.”

For more information on the human performance lab and other food and nutritional science information, visit

TOP: Dr. David Eitrheim runs as Joe Harlan checks his vitals. Students from the sports nutrition class look on. LEFT: Laura Verdegan does a test run on the treadmill as Adam Kuchnia controls the computer.