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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.

Recognizing the escalation in obesity and the extraordinary difficulties in its prevention and treatment, a number of NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICs) are taking important new steps to augment their obesity research portfolios.


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 Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni established the NIH Obesity Research Task Force in April 2003, as a new effort 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, and by the Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel. The members of the Task Force are representatives from these and many other NIH ICs with relevant expertise. A key element of the NIH Director's charge to the Task Force is the development of a Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research.

The following NIH components are represented on the Task Force
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination (DNRC) NIH Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)

Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research

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 . Please note that some trials may not currently be enrolling volunteers. Please also note that the website offers different search options, including focused searches for trials sponsored by the NIH and/or other agencies and organizations.

NIH Information on Federally-Funded Research Projects - CRISP Database

CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects) is a searchable database, maintained by the NIH, that provides information on current and past research projects supported by the NIH and several other federal agencies. Searchable information includes research topic, principal investigator, geographical location (state) of awarded projects, and other information. Possible search terms for obesity-related projects may include, for example: obesity, overweight, or related terms; other terms such as children, adolescence; the name of a principal investigator; etc.
Further information about the CRISP Database
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Last Modified: 02/06/2008
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