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