About NIH Obesity Research
The health problem of obesity
Obesity has risen to epidemic levels in the U.S. It causes devastating and costly
health problems, reduces life expectancy, and is associated with stigma and discrimination.
A multitude of factors likely contribute to obesity, from inherent biological traits
that differ between individuals relevant to body weight; to environmental and socioeconomic
factors; to behavioral factors--which may have both molecular and environmental
influences. Thus, the diverse efforts of many federal agencies and public and private
organizations will be valuable in working towards reducing obesity.
Role of the NIH in Addressing the U.S. Obesity Epidemic: Research Contributions
Given the complexity and multiplicity of the forces driving the obesity epidemic,
the NIH recognizes that it cannot, by itself, solve this major public health problem.
However, the NIH can and must be a key contributor to solving the obesity problem
through scientific research. Through its research mission, the NIH is seeking to
capitalize on recent scientific discoveries to propel new efforts towards further
understanding the forces contributing to obesity and towards developing strategies
for prevention and treatment.
The increase in obesity over the past 30 years has been fueled by a complex interplay
of environmental, social, economic, and behavioral factors, acting on a background
of genetic susceptibility. Thus, the NIH supports a broad spectrum of obesity-related
research, including molecular, genetic, behavioral, environmental, clinical, and
epidemiologic studies. The challenges of today's obesity epidemic are daunting,
yet the discoveries emanating from previous research investments offer unprecedented
opportunities for new scientific research efforts to help meet these challenges.
The NIH Obesity Research Task Force
Given the importance of the obesity epidemic as a public health problem, and its
relevance to the mission of most of the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICs),
the NIH Obesity Research Task Force was established to accelerate progress in obesity
research across the NIH. The Task Force is co-chaired by the Director of the National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers;
the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development, Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher; and the Director of the National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Dr. Gary H. Gibbons. The members of the Task Force
are representatives from these and many other NIH ICs.
The following NIH components are represented on the Task Force
Additional NIH Research Information Resources
Clinical Trials Related to Obesity
To search for information about clinical trials in human volunteers, including the
purpose of each trial, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more
details, please visit www.clinicaltrials.gov/
. Please note that some trials may not currently be enrolling volunteers. Please
also note that the ClinicalTrials.gov website offers different search options, including
focused searches for trials sponsored by the NIH and/or other agencies and organizations.
National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR)
To advance and accelerate progress in addressing childhood obesity in America, the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) formed the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).
NCCOR's mission is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and application of
childhood obesity research through enhanced coordination and collaboration.
NCCOR is developing tools for obesity researchers. Released in February 2011, the
Catalogue of Surveillance Systems www.nccor.org/css
provides an online directory of over 75 surveillance systems containing data relevant
to obesity research. For additional information about NCCOR, please visit: www.nccor.org .
NIH Information on Federally-Funded Research Projects
The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) - To enhance public accessibility
to reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities, the Research Portfolio
Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) website gives the public a single access point to
quickly and easily find data, including information on NIH expenditures and the
results of NIH-supported research. For additional information visit: