About NIH Obesity Research
The Health Problem of Obesity
Obesity has risen to epidemic levels in the United States. Individuals with obesity may suffer devastating and costly health problems, face reduced life expectancy, and experience stigma and discrimination. The high prevalence of obesity likely results from a multitude of factors: inherent genetic and other biological traits that differ among individuals, aspects of the environment, and behavioral factors--which may have both genetic and environmental influences. Obesity disproportionately affects people from certain racial and ethnic minority populations and those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. The continued efforts of government and other organizations will be valuable toward reducing obesity, so that people can look forward to healthier lives.
Role of the NIH in Addressing the U.S. Obesity Epidemic: Research Contributions
As the nation’s biomedical research agency, the NIH seeks to capitalize on recent scientific discoveries to propel new efforts to gain new insights into the factors contributing to obesity and to design and test strategies for prevention and treatment. The NIH supports a broad spectrum of obesity-related research, including studies of fundamental biologic processes that influence body weight; studies of behaviors and a range of environmental factors; clinical trials; and translational research. The challenges of today's obesity epidemic are daunting, yet the discoveries emanating from past and ongoing 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 missions 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 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Dr. Gary H. Gibbons; and the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Diana W. Bianchi. Participants on the Task Force represent these and many other NIH ICs.
- National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- National Eye Institute (NEI)
- 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)
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
- National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
- National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)