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NIH plots new course on obesity

by Sandy Todd Webster on Apr 15, 2011

Food for Thought

Health officials recently announced a new direction in the effort to curb America's obesity epidemic: science will move from the lab into practice through clinical trials aimed at prevention and treatment.

"This plan is a bold blueprint that will encourage the research community to examine the epidemic of obesity from diverse perspectives," National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, said in an NIH press release.

More than a third of adults and nearly 17% of children in the United States are obese, increasing their chances of developing such health problems as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease and some cancers. Studies have shown that obese children are more likely to remain obese as adults, and that they develop chronic conditions at younger ages, burdening the healthcare system.

NIH’s research recommendations include

  • discovering key processes that regulate body weight and influence behavior;

  • understanding the factors that contribute to obesity and its consequences;

  • designing and testing new approaches for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight;

  • evaluating promising strategies to prevent and treat obesity in real-world settings and diverse populations; and

  • using technology to advance obesity research and improve healthcare delivery.

To increase the reach of research and improve public health, the plan also highlights education and outreach to move proven strategies into community programs and medical practice. Additionally, the plan will focus on understanding biological processes that regulate weight; factors that contribute to obesity; and the health issues that obesity causes.kids’ table

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL, the health and fitness industry's leading resource for fitness and wellness professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering appro